The Western Church from 1050 to 1250
PART II - cont.
THE MESSAGE OF THE CHURCHES
i. Towards a Christian Society
However active the concern for the defence and extension of the boundaries of Christendom, a still greater task faced the church at home: to build a Christian society among those (the overwhelming majority of the population) who professed the name of Christ. Both inside and outside the Christian frontier, pastoral endeavours were directed to the same end: to create temples where the name of the true God would be honoured. A modern student is likely to ask whether the Christian convictions of the population were nominal or real. A contemporary, at the beginning of our period, would have found such a question difficult to understand, for it would have seemed to him that a community which had been baptized and which worshipped according to a Catholic liturgy was by that fact a Christian community. Prayer was a communal activity according to set forms, and private prayer was no more than an overflow of communal worship, as when a monk would recite the whole psalter as an act of daily piety. Prayer was, moreover, the special function of monks, so that when a layman received 'an excellent missal' as part of a transaction, he naturally gave it to the monks of St Victor, Marseille, with a request to use it in praying for his family and himself. The foundation of a church was the path to virtue: 'let every one build a church, that he may be sure of receiving the kingdom of heaven'. 1
In the course of the twelfth century we can discern significant changes in this cultic approach. The policy of the papal reformers provided the foundation for some of them. They had emphasized the need for purity in worship, which must not be offered by priests defiled by simony or intercourse with women. This was essentially a demand for ritual cleanliness, but the reformers had gone further. In spite of the monastic influence at Rome, Gregory VII had been
1 Cartulaire de S. Victor, Marseille, ed. M. Guérard ( Paris, 1857), I, nos. 413 and 269.
conscious of the pastoral responsibilities of the episcopal office. In a pontifical from his time the new bishop is admonished, 'you have undertaken a great weight of labour, that is the burden of the government of souls', and the papal household encouraged the writing of lives of model bishops such as Peter of Anagni, Berard of Marses, and Bruno of Segni. Another feature of the Gregorians' programme had been the ordering of the liturgy. Gregory was concerned to secure the general adoption of the Roman rite, which he assumed was the practice of the primitive church, and there was a major revival of liturgical scholarship. Works such as the Micrologus of Bernold of Constance, Ivo of Chartres's Sermones de Ecclesiasticis Sacramentis, and (later) John Beleth's Summa de Ecclesiasticis Officiis were widely, read, and provided the foundation for a way of celebrating the liturgy which survived into the twentieth century. 2 The growth of the regular canons, which the papal reformers had done much to foster, brought into being an influential force committed to cure of souls as part of their philosophy. The Gregorian concern to define the duties of the order of clergy led to a determination to extend the observance of righteousness to the ranks of the laity also, and hence to define the right form of marriage (seen as the special feature of the lay order) and to prescribe the duties of the various estates as society became increasingly diversified. In some groups the movement towards a distinctive lay religion went further. Although the task of living the apostolic life was, in respectable circles, regarded as the duty of monks, the eremitical movement had already opened it to laymen, and lay groups were increasingly attracted by this heady prospect. This 'reform of the laity' will be considered in the succeeding chapters. Finally, the cultic approach was being eroded by an increasingly interior religion, of which the Cistercians were the champions. While the desire for confraternity with traditional monasteries continued to be felt, lay nobles were less content with the simple knowledge that they were associated in the liturgy of the house, and required specific rites and institutions to provide for their needs, including prayer for the departed members of their family. The combination of this concern for interior purity, the partial weakening of ancient solidarities, and the definition of the duties of the various 'orders' of laity led to the
2 See R. E. Reynolds, "Liturgical Scholarship at the Time of the Investiture Controversy", Harvard Theological Review 71 ( 1978) 109-24.
development of a new, and much more personal, discipline of penance.
These new movements gave a very different atmosphere to the twelfth century, but they did not lead directly to an awareness of the need for an active ministry towards the population as a whole. If we were anachronistically to apply post-Tridentine standards of pastoral ministry, we would find the twelfth century extremely defective. The work of the local clergy received little support, or even notice, from the hierarchy. Scholars gave them scant attention and bishops still had no proper structures of administration, and the changes which were modifying the cultic approach applied to an élite of monks, nobles, and academics, and had not reached the mass of the population. In some circles responsibility for pastoral care was dismissed altogether. Rupert of Deutz held that the apostolic life did not demand a pastorate to ordinary people: 'preaching, baptizing and working miracles do not make an apostle'. 3 Rupert's point was a theological one, but the bishop of Senlis had more secular assumptions in mind when about 1180 he issued a revealing statement about the unsuitability of pastoral work for canons of his cathedral:
For it is most unworthy that a person who in the cathedral church has been assigned to the holy altar in his due turn according to his dignity as a canon, should be tied to a parochial cure. It is foreign to the dignity of a canon to bless marriage beds, purify women after childbirth, refer to the bishop the brawls and contentions of the people and be subject to the rural dean; and that he should be counted among local and lower-class priests who, because of the dignity of his office, is entered in the roll of the church among those who are great in the church. 4
As a consequence of this sort of assumption, there is almost complete silence in our sources about the weekly devotions of ordinary people, and unhappily this can be interpreted in different ways. A practice may not be mentioned because it did not exist, or because it was so commonplace and uncontroversial that it did not seem worth mentioning. Needless to say, the picture of twelfth-century religion is changed greatly by the decision which of these assumptions to make. At least, however, our starting-place is secure. The prevailing cultic approach implies that we must begin with the provision of
3 Rupert of Deutz, De Vita vere apostolica ii. 16 (PL 170.631-2).
4 Gall. Christ. X, Appendix no. 76, pp. 436-7.
places for worship: of great churches where multitudes assembled, and local ones for the worship of each village. 5
ii. The Great Churches
To say that the great church was an invention of our period would be an exaggeration, but a pardonable one. There had been large churches in the past, including some of the Roman basilicas and the greater Carolingian abbeys, but there is no earlier parallel to the number and size of the churches which now began to be constructed throughout Europe. Some of these have been mentioned in an earlier chapter: Monte Cassino completed in 1071, the abbey churches of Norman England, and the greatest example of all, Cluny III. The design of these churches was marked by regional characteristics. In Normandy and England a distinctive style emerged which is now usually called ' Norman' and which expresses the piety and the imperial pretensions of the Norman race. South of the Loire there were many churches with domes, such as Fontevraud; and on the great pilgrim road which led from France to Spain a network of great churches was built, catering specially for the needs of pilgrims and echoing the architecture of the basilica which was their final goal, St James of Compostella.
One of these regional schools provided the seed-bed for the second phase in the building of the medieval great church. Northern France had produced relatively few major buildings during the century after 1050, but the reconstruction of Saint-Denis by Abbot Suger in the 1140s initiated a wave of activity. It was not completely distinct in style from existing architecture: Durham and Laon, for example, have a good deal in common. Nevertheless the French style, exaggerated and refined, rapidly began to be imitated in other countries, at Canterbury as early as 1174, and it provided the basis for the architecture which we now strangely know as Gothic. There is no single reason for its emergence and its subsequent influence. Part of the explanation is utilitarian. Architects were anxious to provide their churches with stone roofs as a precaution against the fires which frequently destroyed the older 'Romanesque' buildings,
5 The changes mentioned in this section have been briefly set within the wider developments in the introduction to Part II of this book. In the study of popular religion, one important question is the nature of popular beliefs and customs and their adaptation to official Christian culture. This will be considered in a later chapter; the centre of interest in ch. 12 is the attempt by the authorities of the church to provide for the needs of a Christian society.
and this made ribbed vaults essential and pointed arches advantageous to support them. The Gothic style also may be explained by the desire to produce exceedingly high churches, of which the thirteenth-century cathedral at Beauvais is a grotesque example, and these required a battery of flying buttresses to support them and long, pointed windows to light them. The development of the new style was encouraged by the growth of the cities and their desire for a church which would express their grandeur, for Gothic, although certainly employed by monastic builders, was more characteristically the language of the cathedrals. It also expressed a new attitude to decoration: the message of the building was addressed to worshippers through stained glass and statues, art-forms introduced or reintroduced in the early twelfth century. It is not a coincidence that Suger, intent upon a particularly complex symbolism in the windows and statues of his church, arrived at the first approximation to the new style. There have been varied interpretations among historians of the motive force behind the design of the new Gothic churches. One school has emphasized the symbolic character of the buildings, seeing them as images of heaven, radiant with God's light which streamed through the great windows; others have seen the church as a machine for worshipping in, its design being prescribed by the needs of the liturgy as well as the practical requirements of building in stone. Both considerations were present in the minds of the master masons of the age; in this chapter, I shall concentrate primarily on the way in which the needs of worship helped to shape the plans of the great churches.
The enthusiasm for vast buildings and the Gothic style was in any case not universal. The city of Rome was unaffected: when San Clemente and Santa Maria in Cosmedin were rebuilt about 1100 the traditional basilican design was adopted. There were criticisms of the new magnificence, notably Bernard's attack on the Cluniacs in his Apologia ad Guillelmum and the complaint later in the century, by Peter the Chanter at Paris, about the excessive provision of churches and chapels. 6 Italy was resistant to Gothic, and its buildings, if richly decorated, were of moderate size until the thirteenth-century preaching churches of the friars. There was sometimes conservative opposition, such as Suger encountered from those who reverenced the old building. At Anagni the population complained about the
6 Peter the Chanter, Verbum Abbreviatum, 29 (PL 205.107AB).
cost of rebuilding the cathedral; at Reims and Paris they preferred to finance new parish churches, leaving the canons to find the resources for the cathedral. In spite of these reservations, it is clear that there was a lot of lay enthusiasm. Donations came from all social levels, from the royal houses who financed Cluny III to the swineherd of Stow, who contributed his mite to St Hugh's new cathedral at Lincoln. There were even occasions when the building was the centre of a religious revival: at Chartres in 1145 nobles and people pulled cart-loads of stone, singing hymns on their way.
The cost of these buildings was prodigious. Some were funded by the profits of conquest: the cities in England were marked by the close combination of cathedral and castle, which we can still see at Durham, Rochester, and Lincoln, and the resources for some northern French cathedrals came from the French conquests in Normandy and on the Albigensian Crusade. Then as now, money was raised for church buildings by direct appeals. The inducements are set out in the appeal for the cathedral at Aix-en-Provence about 1070:
We have begun the construction of a larger church, in which you and other visitors will have space enough to stand . . . We ask each of you to give what he can, so as to receive from God and us a full remission of his sins, and have a portion and association in all the advantages of the community of St Saviour's. For everything you give, you will receive a hundredfold from the Lord in the day of Judgement. 7
It became customary to give a formal indulgence to contributors to a building fund, as Urban II did at Figeac in the south of France in 1092. Offerings by pilgrims were an important source. At Canterbury in the late twelfth century more than a quarter of the treasurer's income came from the shrine of St Thomas, and in 1220, the year of the dedication of the new shrine, the offerings reached the then vast figure of £1,142. Sometimes a Fraternity of the Fabric was established, a medieval equivalent of Friends of the Cathedral, whose members were enrolled and remembered at mass.
The great churches were of different kinds: cathedrals, abbeys, and collegiates. Probably most were open to the laity, at least for the main festivals. The inordinate size was not intended to hold a large Sunday congregation. It was partly to facilitate access to the relics for
7 V. Mortet, Recueil de textes relatifs à l'histoire de l'architecture en France au m. a. , 2 vols. ( Paris, 1911-29), no. LXV p. 203.
the crowds on the patronal festival, and also to provide a processional space. The great procession at high mass took place in the nave, and sometimes the people were kept out of the nave and admitted instead to the galleries or to a westward extension or Galilee 'where the laity stand so as not to impede the processions'. 8 In a sense, the church was conceived as a theatre. The comparison would not have been natural at the time, because the theatre as such did not exist, but the scholarly M. Honorius, who was familiar with the classical theatre, saw the celebrant as a 'tragic actor' in front of the Christian people. 9 The shrine of the saint was a centre of power within the church, and was one of the main influences on its design. Under the pressure of growing crowds of pilgrims the relics were, in one church after another, brought up from the crypt into the main sanctuary, where they stood on the high altar or in a shrine behind it. By popular demand, the relics became the centre of the plan. In Roman tradition the bishop's throne stood in the centre of the apse, facing the people across the altar. It still occupies this position in a number of churches at Rome, and there are vestigial traces of the arrangement elsewhere, for instance at Canterbury and Norwich. With the arrival of the saint's shrine, the bishop had to be moved out of the way, usually to the north side of the sanctuary, where his throne might be impressively decorated, but was without a liturgical function. It was also necessary to provide a system for overcoming the problems of the traffic flow and allowing the crowds to be shepherded past the shrine. The favourite plan on the continent was the ambulatory, curving round the apse and allowing orderly access to the shrine.
The great church was not planned as a building, but as a series of liturgical spaces. Even in earlier centuries, the choir or schola cantorum was separated by a low enclosure from the laity, and this continued in the neighbourhood of Rome. In the north, and especially in England, a much clearer division was adopted. A great screen or pulpitum was built across the church, normally to the west of the tower crossing; it seems to have existed already at Beverley in the 1060s and at Canterbury in Lanfranc's time. The pulpitum developed into a heavy stone barrier, which allowed no communication except through side-doors which led into the aisles of the choir. Other requirements led to further fragmentation. There were more masses,
8 Mortet, Recueil, 23.
9 Honorius, Gemma Animae, i. 83 (PL 172.570AB).
and hence a need for more altars, which were often provided in a series of chapels radiating from the ambulatory at the east end. An increasing demand for marriage ceremonies and for the transaction of business led to the creation of a sheltered north porch, like the splendid one at Wells ( c. 1210), a handsome room of considerable dimensions. The great church was not so much a building as a set of buildings, shaped by the needs of its resident clergy and those of a wider lay public.
iii. The Local Churches Visits to great churches would have been formative experiences, but regular worship depended on the local church. Bishop Herman of Ramsbury, visiting Rome in 1050, boasted that England was full of churches. Domesday Book and associated records suggest that he was right. In the diocese of Rochester the Textus Roffensis preserves a list dating from about 1100 which records 124 parish churches and 28 dependent chapels, much the same as the provision for Anglican worship in 1800. The picture in northern France was similar. The deanery of Lille included 64 parishes in the late twelfth century, as against 80 in the same geographical area at the end of the Middle Ages. It is probable that most were already there in 1090, when we first encounter the deanery as a unit. In Lotharingia, Michel Parisse has emphasized the continuity of the parish as a phenomenon more striking than the new foundations and subdivisions which took place from time to time. These were densely populated regions where village churches had been provided well before the beginning of our period.
Elsewhere the position was different. The Domesday evidence suggests that in the north and west of England a single church, with a staff of clergy, would serve a large district including several small villages. The process of making additional provision was still continuing, even in an 'old' area like Worcester, where Bishop Wulfstan ( 1062-95) 'established churches throughout his diocese on his own estates and encouraged their provision on those of others'. 10 For the really underdeveloped areas we have to look eastward. When the diocese of Bamberg was created in 1007 to cover a large part of central southern Germany, there seem to have been only 39 churches
10 Vita Wulfstani, iii. 10, ed. R. R. Darlington ( Camden Soc. iii. 40, 1928) 52. For detailed references for this section, see the local studies listed in the bibliography.
there. The Fichtelgebirge on the eastern border was without a church at all until the foundation of one at Hof some time in the twelfth century. It is not possible to be sure about the date of new foundations in the diocese, but it is probable that the original 39 were increased by 30 during the twelfth century and 34 in the thirteenth, building up to a total of 203 parishes by the end of the Middle Ages. In Silesia the provision of churches followed the large-scale German settlement in the thirteenth century: church buildings can be found in 24 places in 1200, and in 146 by 1270. All over Europe these would initially be simple wooden buildings. At Ranworth in Norfolk a lengthy lawsuit was occasioned when in the disorders under King Stephen ( 1135-54) a local lord stole the church, removing it physically into his own fief. At Sutton in Lincolnshire a donor provided a site for a stone church in the late twelfth century, explaining that 'my wish is that the earlier wooden church . . . shall be taken away and the bodies buried in it shall be taken to the new church'. 11 Before 1200 even stone churches were often of a basic design, single-celled or double-celled with a tiny chancel opening off a larger nave.
In most eleventh-century towns there was a small number of churches forming one ecclesiastical unit, with the provost of the major churches appointing clergy to serve at the others, as was the practice at Sens, Tournai, and Arras. Lille offers us a model of conservative expansion to meet the needs of a rising population. It had three churches in 1066, the canons of the mother-church having the right to designate priests at the other two. In 1144 a fourth church was added, St Sauveur, and the situation remained static until 1233, when two more parishes appeared, with a seventh by 1273. This sort of growth is typical of its region: at Ypres there were four parishes, at the very large city of Cologne thirteen parishes by 1172 and nineteen by 1300. These examples must represent a fairly balanced proportion of churches to population, but in other cities churches proliferated at an astonishing speed. At Paris the population grew rapidly after 1100, and the parochial system more rapidly. In the eleventh century Notre Dame was the only mother-church on the small island which formed the heart of the city, but when in 1183 Bishop Maurice de Sully reorganized the parishes there were already twelve churches in this tiny area. The building of a greatly extended
11 D. Owen, Church and Society in Medieval Lincolnshire ( Lincoln, 1971), 5.
city wall by Philip Augustus led to the creation of additional parishes for those whom it had separated from easy access to their former place of worship. The multiplication of churches appears in an extreme form in England, where it began early. Lincoln had thirtyfive churches by 1100, and nearly fifty by 1200, although by continental standards it was not a large city. By 1200 London had well over 100 parishes.
As we noticed in Chapter 1, the ministry in a region had often begun with a team of clergy operating from a 'mother-church'. The building of additional churches involved the transfer of rights from the mother-church to them, thus creating the parochial system in its enduring form. There was still no precise term for the village church, which was endowed with a full ministry to the population within its limits. It could indeed be called a parish (parochia), but this really meant an area of jurisdiction and was commonly used for a diocese. It was also known as a 'title' (titulus), a term which has survived with special meanings: the cardinals' churches at Rome or a qualification (title) for ordination. Although the terminology was fluctuating there was a clear recognition of the rights involved in parochial status. These were defined as tithes, baptism and burials; or, less commonly, as baptism, burial, and visitation of the sick, which were described in Saxony as 'the custom of the mother churches'. 12 The most important element was baptism. A church which had no right of baptism could not have a proper Easter liturgy, since the baptismal ceremony was an integral part of this, and with the Easter liturgy came Easter communicants, Lent confessions, the Maundy Thursday chrism, and therefore the anointing of the sick. The dominant position of Easter in the twelfth-century liturgy can be appreciated from a book of offices composed for the cathedral of Volterra (Tuscany) about 1170, where the section on Easter contains a huge amount of material from canon law on baptism, penance, and ordination. From the eleventh century onwards churches were being provided with stationary fonts, and after that the definition is simple; we can recognize a parish by its font. In most places the duty of regular ministry passed completely to the parishes from the motherchurch, which was simply left with some financial and ceremonial rights. In Kent about 1100 village priests had to collect and pay for the chrism at twelve minsters, and in Saxony a little later village
12 M. Erbe, Pfarrkirche und Dorf (Gütersloh, 1973), 50.
churches had to pay synodal dues to the mother-church and contribute to the maintenance of its fabric. In Picardy parishioners visited the mother-church on its feast day in a croix banale or bannkreuz ('church parade' would be a fair translation). In Italy the development was different. The cathedral retained its position as the baptismal church, and we can still see the impact of this in the separate baptisteries which continued to be built throughout our period -- Florence and Pisa are magnificent examples, but there are many others. They were the sole or main place of baptism, and were dear to the citizens of these great urban centres. At Parma the carroccio, the command centre for the communal army, was kept in the baptistery, and Dante remembered with affection the baptistery of Florence, il mio bel San Giovanni. But Italy is an exception. In most of Europe there was a steady movement towards a system of parish churches, each provided with its own right to baptize, bury, and dispense the sacraments. The growth of this network was connected with a change which we have already observed in another context: the growing control of the bishop over the routine administration of his diocese. 13 While it would be rash to give a date for a process which was progressive and which inevitably varied between different regions, its culmination may be seen in the canon of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 requiring all adults to confess to their 'own priest' (proprius sacerdos), thus assuming the existence of a uniform system of discipline throughout most of the Latin world.
iv. Learning through Worship
There were formidable problems involved in communicating the faith to the mass of the population. Most people were unable to read, and only the rich had access to books. Worse still, the liturgy was celebrated in a language which, at least outside Italy, was incomprehensible to the congregations. True, there was a lot of popular interest in the major ceremonies of the church. People dated their lives (when they had need of dates) by the saints' days, and there was a vast gathering when one of the great pilgrimage churches celebrated its festival. It can also be said that some of the ceremonies were of a kind whose significance could not easily be missed: the adoration of the cross on Good Friday, and on Easter Day the
13 See ch. 9. iii above.
kindling of the new fire, which in some regions was taken into the homes of each parishioner, would seem to carry their own message. Nevertheless, it remains true that there was little attempt to use the liturgy proper as a medium of instruction. It would be more accurate in the twelfth century to describe the changes taking place as a withdrawal of the liturgy from the people.
One reason for this surprising development was the insistence on the separation of clergy and people in both life and worship, which had the effect of focusing the attention of the hierarchy upon the liturgy of the clergy. Some lay reforming movements, such as the Patarini of Milan, shared the same assumptions: they demanded greater clerical purity, not greater lay participation. At a more fundamental level, changes in the liturgy were merely catching up with a change in the nature of the local Christian community. The worship of the early church had been that of believers who had confessed the faith in baptism and assembled for the common meal in the weekly eucharist, and who required training and support for their task of upholding the Gospel in a pagan world. The local congregation had, by the twelfth century, assumed a quite different form, with universal child baptism and very infrequent communion in a society which officially accepted a monolithic Christian worldview. It is not surprising that elements in the traditional rite which expressed the participation of the whole congregation, but which for long had been a dead letter, were removed in the revisions which took place at this time. What is more, the whole understanding of the sacraments was shifting. The originally communal character of baptism and the eucharist had become incomprehensible and contemporaries were looking for a new way of defining their meaning. They found it in a place characteristic of medieval society: in the significant gesture. A sacrament was an action which transformed the recipient. St Augustine had provided the basis for this understanding when he defined a sacrament as the sign of a sacred thing, a definition taken up, although scarcely in its original sense, by Hugh of St Victor. 14 The assimilation to contemporary ideas went further in the supposition that a sacrament involved a physical object. Hugh defined it as containing 'a bodily or material element'. 15 In an age when land was transferred through a physical
14 St Hugh of Victor, De Sacramentis, 1.9.2. (PL 176.317B): 'sacramentum est sacrae rei signum.'
15 De Sacraments, I. 9.2, 'corporale vel materiale elementum' (317D).
token it was a natural way to understand the meaning of a gesture. The advent of this idea of a sacrament had the effect of transforming some of the rituals: in confirmation, the laying on of hands was abandoned, since anointing seemed to be the vital thing; in ordination the priest received delivery of chalice and paten (porrectio instrumentorum) and this came to seem more important than the imposition of the bishop's hands. Even where the form of the ceremony was not altered, the congregational significance was diminished: the application of water and the consecration of bread and wine, accompanied by the correct formula, were the essence of baptism and the communion. As on so many medieval occasions, the community had become witnesses rather than participants.
The final collapse of the old rite of initiation took place in the thirteenth century, and the process is therefore discussed in Chapter 19, ii below. As to the mass, it remained the central act of worship, but what had begun as a celebration of Christian community, in which president, deacons, readers, and the choir had each performed their distinctive part and which culminated in the communion of the people, had ceased to exist in the old form. The assumption now was that the mass was a mystery or miracle which won God's blessing as a result of the cultic acts of the priest. The most crucial, the consecration, began to be performed in a way which made it visible to the congregation, and it was supposed that the mass could be offered for many mundane purposes. Bishop Odo of Cambrai wrote about 1113 that 'we pray at the time of the sacrifice against the peril of fire, for our homes; against drought or tempest, for our crops; against sickness, for our animals; against other losses, for everything else'. 16 For several centuries it had been customary to multiply private masses either to secure benefits for sponsors or because penitents had been ordered to pay for masses as a penance. The process continued in the twelfth century, in part in response to the demand for masses by guilds and confraternities. The main mass of the community itself began to be interpreted in terms of private masses, as if these were the norm. We find for the first time about 1140 the instruction that the celebrant was to say sotto voce the readings and antiphons which were being performed by the lectors and choir, as if the whole liturgy was essentially a solo by the priest. The community celebration was being seen as a mere variant of the private one -- an exact reversal of the original situation.
16 Odo of Cambrai, Expositio in Canonem Missae (PL 160. 1058A)
At the same time, efforts were made to make the mass a vehicle of instruction, although by means which would have astonished earlier centuries. It was treated as an allegory which conveyed a message. There were various ways of interpreting it, but the dominant one was as the story of the life of Christ from the Nativity to the Ascension. The connections were artificial, and could only have been made in a society with a strong allegorical sense, and they perhaps echo the technique of memory in which ideas were recalled by their association with a familiar scene or illustration. In the ninth century Amalarius of Metz had glossed the liturgy in this way, and in the twelfth the tradition was renewed by Hugh of St Victor, Rupert of Deutz, Sicard of Cremona, and Cardinal Lothar of Segni, the future Innocent III. The system must have been designed to form the spirituality of clergy, for it required a close familiarity with the ceremonies, combined with a recollection of their complex meanings. About 1175 a simplified version was made available in The Lay Folk's Massbook, originally composed in French in Normandy, but this is not so much a lay spirituality, as a clerical one reduced for laymen.
The collapse of a common liturgy, and the failure to use it as a means of communication with the laity, was balanced by a growth of subsidiary ceremonies which were designed to present the Biblical message in a more simplified form. We are not sure, in most cases, to whom they were directed, and it would be rash to assume that they were predominantly designed for the laity. There were plenty of monks, minor clergy, and boys to appreciate something more comprehensible than the mass allegories. One of the most direct ways of providing this was the development of a series of music dramas. The earliest was a simple telling of the visit to the empty tomb on Easter morning, the Quem quaeritis, which was widely known in the tenth century but never attained much elaboration. In the course of the eleventh century a range of these liturgical dramas developed, such as a more complex Easter play, one on the story of the shepherds (officium pastorum), and one on the Magi (officium stellae). Such plays remained within the church building but acquired an increasingly popular air. The rubrics sometimes stress the importance of the gestures used, which would have conveyed the meaning to a congregation ignorant of Latin. The adoration of the Virgin and child by the Magi, or the display of the grave-clothes of the risen Christ, would have been comprehensible even to the simplest bystander. In France in particular the clergy ceased to perform in liturgical garments and adopted suitable costumes and properties: wings for angels or a star on the end of a string for the Magi. The twelfth-century plays contained a number of comic scenes, and a few had a large mixture of buffoonery: the feast of the ass, in which the Christ-child was carried by a girl on a donkey to shouts of 'Hee-haw!' from the congregation, was celebrated at a number of cathedrals in northern France. One particular composition about 1150 pointed the way into the future: the Play of Adam was written in French and was apparently designed for performance outside the church building, in the cloister or the public square. The plays were musically interesting, and a vigorous argument continues about whether they had a rich instrumental accompaniment.
In general, music may have been an important way of appealing to congregations who could not follow the words. The clergy, at least, thought that 'by the sweet modulations of the cantor the people is fired by pious devotion and divine love, and thus runs to the Lord and is made one body in Christ'. 17 It is impossible to be sure whether great churches designed their music to have congregational appeal, but it has been plausibly suggested that the development of polyphony by Perrotin and his colleagues at Notre-Dame, Paris, about 1200 was intended to attract large audiences, and that it made use of well-known tunes. We are on surer ground in supposing that songs were an important influence on lay culture:
In the mouth of the laity who fight for Christ the praise of God is growing, because there is nobody in the whole Christian realm who dares to sing dirty songs in public, but as we have said the whole land rejoices in the praises of Christ, in songs in the vernacular as well, especially among Germans, whose language is more suitable for good songs. 18
Gerhoh was optimistic about the dirty songs, the demand for which remained buoyant, but he is good evidence for the pious hymns as an expression of popular devotion.
The music dramas were associated with another aspect of popular worship: the use of images. The officium stellae ended with the adoration of the image of the Virgin and child, which was probably placed on the altar for the occasion. The aim of the older statues was to depict the dignity of the subject, and some, such as the golden
17 John of Avranches, De Officiis Ecclesiasticis, ed. R. Delamare ( Paris, 1923), 13.
18 Gerhoh of Reichersberg, cited U. Müller, Kreuzzugsdichtung (Tübingen, 1969), no. 7.
Virgin of Essen or Ste Foy at Conques, were covered with precious metal. In the course of the eleventh century simple wooden statues became more common, painted in natural colours, and they seemed very lifelike to worshippers, so much so that at Aurillac the peasants believed that the statue of St Gerard nodded in answer. 19 Their value in stirring up devotion was recognized from the beginning of our period:
The block of wood is not being worshipped, but through that visible image the inner mind of man is stirred, in which the passion and death which Christ endured for us is, so to speak, written upon the parchment of the heart, that every one may recognize within himself how much he owes to his redeemer. 20
The most common images were those of the Virgin and child. The iconography was conventional, with the Virgin seated on a throne and the Christ-child sitting upright, like a tiny adult, on her lap. The image was sometimes called the 'majesty' and almost every sizeable church must have possessed one, because 200 survive, mostly from the twelfth century. Apart from its use in the play, it was placed on an altar, or on a pillar behind, as a focus for devotion, and was carried in procession on festivals.
Another important image was the crucifix. In the later Middle Ages the great rood was the most prominent feature in the furnishing of the churches in northern Europe, and its rise to prominence was achieved between 1050 and 1200. It was a time of keen interest in the passion of Christ, and pilgrims returning from the Holy Land brought relics of the passion to their favourite churches. Their arrival encouraged the dissemination of liturgical customs associated with the death of Christ: the processional use of the cross and reading of the passion on Palm Sunday; the 'entombment' of Christ, represented by the sacrament or by the cross; and the adoration on the feast of the holy cross on 14 September. In the past, the use of a great cross in church decoration had not been prominent, and it often did not carry an image of the crucifixion: when before 1035 King Cnut gave a cross to Winchester it appears to have been plain and accompanied by images of Mary and John. The interest in the crucifix proper was encouraged by the development of pilgrimage to Lucca, where the Santo Volto was thought to preserve Christ's authentic appearance.
19 A. Bouillet, Liber Miraculorum S. Fidis ( Paris, 1897), i. 13, p. 47.
20 Synod of Arras 1025, canon 14 (Mansi xix.455).
It was said that the rood-cross in the English abbey of St Albans was modelled on it, after it had been seen by Abbot Leofric on his way to Rome in about 1050. It seems from the miracles related by William of Malmesbury that there was a rood at Winchcombe in 1091, and in Germany the great crucifix had appeared a century earlier when Archbishop Gero had one carved for Cologne cathedral. By 1200 it was normal to find a large crucifix in a church, and the Limoges enamellers were turning out smaller models in great numbers to meet the demand for private devotion. Perhaps even more important was a change in the portrayal of Christ on the cross. In ancient tradition, he had been shown alive, beardless and young, but from the ninth century we begin to find (especially in imperial monastic circles) first drawings and then statues of the Lord as a dead man. It was an evocative change in church decoration which brought before the eyes of all the faithful the suffering humanity of Jesus and thus marks an important turning-point in the history of Christian piety.
Romanesque churches were painted from floor to ceiling. The effect can still be seen in a few French churches, such as Tavant and St Savin-sur-Gartempe, and more clearly in the mosaics at St Mark's Venice and at Monreale outside Palermo. Village churches, too, were vividly painted: there are substantial survivals of the decorative effect at the tiny church of Vic in central France, whose paintings were rescued by Georges Sand, and in a group of Sussex churches under the patronage of the Cluniac priory of Lewes, of which Hardham is the best surviving example. The twelfth century saw some dramatic changes in decoration. Stone sculpture was very rare indeed before 1100, but thereafter it developed rapidly and great churches were provided with sculptural themes on the capitals of the arcades and on the west front. The sculpture was profusely painted and must have made a dramatic impact. With Suger's work at SaintDenis in the 1140s stained-glass windows came to be very important. They certainly existed before then, and one or two accomplished fragments survive from previous centuries, but it is unlikely that any previous church had been decorated with a complete scheme of windows, and certain that none had been designed with as much window space.
It is difficult to be sure of the purpose of this rash of decoration: was it to educate the laity, aid the devotion of the clergy, or simply to glorify God through the beauty of His temple? All of these purposes were probably present in different buildings. The spoken word and significant gesture were for most people the primary way of understanding; the modern desire to 'have it in writing' was anticipated only by a small group of intellectuals towards the end of our period. For monks and clergy a series of pictures with captions would be more evocative than a text, and there are indications that this was the audience to which much decoration was directed. Abbot Suger's complicated scheme of typology, his long Latin inscriptions and enamelled great cross, which could rarely if ever have been seen in detail by visiting pilgrims, leave one doubtful whether there was any design to instruct the laity. Indeed, he seems to say at one point that the symbolism was only comprehensible to the literate. 21 As a medium, stained glass achieves high marks for splendour but few for comprehensibility. There are certainly some subjects easy to follow, like the sequence of Old Testament figures at Canterbury c. 1180, but many windows are hard to identify or even to see, and this is not only the result of the disruption of the design which is so common in early windows. The 'dean's eye' at Lincoln of c. 1240 is still in its original setting and largely intact, but it is, and must always have been, very difficult to decipher. Such decorations may have revealed God's splendour to the visiting laity, but are unlikely to have conveyed much information. The problems are illustrated in the great Romanesque churches of the Auvergne. They contain capitals with Biblical subjects carved with tenderness and power, but at Issoire these are in the choir, where they would have been only partially visible to the laity; while the nave capitals are mostly grotesques, with beasts and acrobats of the kind which St Bernard criticized at Cluny. The pattern is different elsewhere: at Besse, some twenty miles away, a nave capital has four dramatic representations of the story of Dives and Lazarus, presented in a way which would almost certainly have spoken to the laity. The great pilgrimage church of St Benoît-sur-Loire has capitals which are iconographically strange. Hardly any of them display the miracles of St Benedict, while there are several in honour of the monk Hugh of Sainte-Marie (perhaps the historian Hugh of Fleury). The decoration seems to commemorate inappropriately some internal power-crisis at the end of the eleventh century. The evidence suggests that church decorators before Suger's work at Saint-Denis could not or did not construct a coherent programme presenting the faith to either clergy or laity.
21 Suger, De Rebus in sua Administratione Gestis, 23 (PL 186. 1233C).
Nevertheless evidence remains of an intention to instruct the laity. Gregory the Great's famous statement that 'what writing presents to the literate, pictures do to the ignorant who see them' was still quoted. Gratian referred to them as the 'literature of the laity', and a regular canon, Hugh of Fouilloi, in criticizing the decoration of monastic churches in 1153, made a significant exception: 'if this is permissible for any one, it is for those who are established in cities or towns, to whom a great mass of people flow, so that their simplicity may be attracted by the charm of painting, although they cannot enjoy the subtlety of Scripture'. 22 Romanesque art was essentially poster art, designed to present bold subjects in an eye-catching way. Sometimes the upper ranges of painting were huge out of all proportion and garishly coloured to make them visible. The main characters in a scene were larger than the subsidiary ones, the gestures were flamboyant and, in a style reminiscent of the modern strip-cartoon, pictures might include events distinct in space and time. The names of characters were provided in a few simple words, and so were scrolls containing a few crucial remarks, which could easily be read to a group by one of its members who had a smattering of letters. The designs and text might be attractively informal: a wall-painting at San Clemente, Rome, probably painted shortly after 1084, contains our first record of vernacular Italian. The subjects of sculpture seem to have been closely related to the music dramas: the charming picture of the angel waking the three kings at Autun is unmistakably based on the scene in the play. We have almost no direct information about the extent to which ordinary people understood the decoration, but some of it at least was certainly addressed to them.
The twelfth century was a golden age of learned preaching. Few sermon collections survive from the preceding period, although one would have to note the Old English homilies of Wulfstan and Ælfric and the sermons of Peter Damian as exceptions. Before that, the Carolingian homiliaries consisted predominantly of patristic material, and recent study has suggested that they were intended as much for
22 Gregory I, letter to Bishop Serenus of Marseille (PL 77.1128C); Gratian, Decr. de consec. D. III, c. 27 ( 1360); Hugh of Fouilloi, De claustro animae, ii.4 (PL 176.1053C). For other references, see M. Camille, "Seeing and Reading", Art History 8 ( 1985), 26-49.
personal meditation as for reading in church. It has been bluntly said that 'the preachers of the twelfth century had to start again'. 23 Many of the surviving sermons come from monastic sources, for the daily routine allowed a substantial place for preaching. The most outstanding monastic preachers are to be found among the Cistercians, above all the great Bernard of Clairvaux. He had disciples who were themselves distinguished preachers, including Guerric, abbot of Igny ( 1138-57) and Isaac, abbot of l'Étoile (died 1169). The Augustinian abbey of St Victor at Paris also was an important centre of preaching, and sermons survive from several of its leading scholars. Outside the monasteries preaching was specially the task of the bishop, and increasingly also of the scholasticus or head of the cathedral school. Hildebert of Lavardin (died 1133) and Geoffrey Babion, who is probably to be identified with Geoffrey du Louroux, archbishop of Bordeaux 1135-58, are examples of preachers who were both masters and bishops. From this scholastic background there sprang a remarkable tradition of preaching at Paris. Its exponents included Peter Lombard, who died in 1160 after a short time as bishop, and a series of chancellors: Odo of Soissons, who died in 1172 as a Cistercian and a cardinal; Peter Comestor (died 1178), whose sermons were the most widely circulated of all; and Hilduin (died 1193). They put their theology into sermon form, and in particular stressed the obligation to personal morality. The hearer was urged to form himself by meditation upon the example of Christ: 'every action of Christ is a lesson for the Christian'. 24 In line with this moralizing tendency was a strong association between preaching and the confessional. The masters moved away from the traditional exposition of the liturgy for the church's year, and in particular of the Gospel for the day, and concentrated on the analysis of single texts, whose full meaning (indeed, more than the full meaning) was extracted by a series of distinctions and classifications. The convention of beginning with a text, which has been so influential in modern preaching, has a continuous history from the time of the Paris masters.
The Paris school was of epoch-making importance because it led directly to the popular preaching movement championed by the
23 P. Tibber, "The Origins of the Scholastic Sermon" (unpublished University of Oxford D.Phil. thesis), 2.
24 J. Longère, Oeuvres oratoires de maîtres parisiens au XIIe siècle, 2 vols. ( Paris, 1975), ii. 77 n. 36.
Paris masters of the early thirteenth century and by the friars. This concern was becoming apparent by about 1190, and it must be considered in a later section in connection with the pastoral revolution which was to follow. But before then Paris sermons were specifically scholastic, designed for audiences of students or clergy. We have to look elsewhere for popular preaching, and it is hard to know how much there was, or whether the hierarchy had much interest in providing it. One thing cannot be doubted: there were preaching campaigns on special occasions outside the parochial framework. The new hermits, champions of poverty and preaching, conducted tours in northern France around 1100 in which they gave popular sermons. Among them we may list Robert of Arbrissel, Vitalis of Savigny, Bernard of Tiron, Odo of Tournai, Peter the Hermit, and Norbert of Xanten. These popular advocates of poverty, whose message was critical of the established order, might spill over into an open breach with the church, as did Tanchelm of Antwerp, Henry of Lausanne, and Arnold of Brescia. Some preaching tours were officially sponsored as an answer to heresy, like Bernard's visit to southern France in 1145, but these were rare in the twelfth century. The crusades called into being mass recruiting campaigns by Peter the Hermit in 1095-6 and Bernard in 1146-7. Celebrations at the consecration of a new church or altar, and the patronal festival at major centres, would be marked by sermons.
These are all infrequent occasions, and while individual preachers could have dramatic effects they could have contributed almost nothing to the general level of instruction in the population as a whole. It would be interesting to know whether bishops and magistri provided regular courses of sermons for lay audiences at cathedrals and other great churches. The main difficulty in supposing that they did lies in the almost total absence of sermons which are clearly directed to a lay audience, but there are hints that this sort of provision was being made, at least in some places. Gerhoh of Reichersberg attached great importance to providing instruction for the people, and sermon techniques sometimes suggest that an uneducated audience is in the preacher's mind. Geoffrey Babion's style is simple and clear, and the use of illustrative tales or exempla, which did not appear at Paris until after 1200, is quite widespread in twelfth-century sermons elsewhere. Direct applications to secular life can be found early in the century in the sermons of Ivo of Chartres, and in Honorius Augustodunensis lessons are drawn for different social classes: an anticipation of a method of addressing special audiences which was to become of great importance and which is known as ad status preaching. The cities also give us examples of laymen who are both pious and well-informed, such as the charitable Werimbold of Cambrai, and, more remarkably, Valdes of Lyon, who had a good knowledge of the vernacular Scriptures and also (to believe a later account) consulted a local theologian about his crisis of faith. The matter cannot be conclusively resolved, but it is quite likely that urban populations, especially their more privileged members, were receiving some regular instruction from the clergy of their principal church.
It is at first sight disconcerting that very few vernacular sermons survive from before 1200, but this is an apparent rather than a real problem. The evidence is overwhelming that when sermons were preached to the laity (and possibly also to conversi, nuns and parish priests) they were in the congregation's own language. We know of prelates who had a reputation for being able to preach well in more than one language, including Archbishop Hildebert of Tours, Bishop Gerard of Angoulême, and Abbots Odo of Battle and Samson of Bury St Edmunds. There are instances of preachers struggling with an unfamiliar language or needing a translator, including Norbert at Valenciennes; Arnulf and Bernard of Clairvaux at the time of the Second Crusade; Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury at the time of the Third; and Patriarch Godfrey of Aquileia in 1189 at the consecration of an Italian monastery. There are also notes in some Latin sermons which indicate that they were designed to be used as a basis for vernacular preaching. Latin was the language of record, but sermons for the 'illiterate', that is those without Latin, were delivered in the common tongue. 25
If vernacular preaching was being provided at great churches, that would have helped to create an instructed urban patriciate and laid the foundation for later pastoral developments. Even on optimistic assumptions it would only have touched a tiny part of the population, most of whom were dependent on their country priests. It is not even clear that parish priests were supposed to preach, for there were conflicting assumptions about their responsibilities which go back to the days of the early church. The dominant view in our period was that preaching was an episcopal prerogative. It was never
25 Many of the references for this section are in M. Zink, La prédication en langue romane ( Paris, 1976), 85 ff.
listed among the duties implicit in cure of souls, and at the Fourth Lateran Council a canon which was designed to extend the provision for preaching spoke only in terms of the bishops and their assistants. 26 It is inconceivable that a regular preaching programme was taking place in country churches in the twelfth century. Few parishes would have possessed a collection of sermons for the priest to use. An instance in southern Germany in the eleventh century shows how acute the famine of books could be. A copy of the Cura Pastoralis of Gregory the Great was donated to a group of priests. The manuscript, which was already 200 years old, was divided into two sections and read in two separate assemblies, the parts being interchanged each year. Presumably they could not afford an additional copy, and the cumbersome procedure illustrates the difficulty of access to a basic pastoral text. 27 Even in the rare cases where a parish owned a homily book of the Carolingian type, the material would be unsuitable for ordinary parishioners, and the sort of straightforward exposition of the Gospels which survives from late in the twelfth century has left few or no examples earlier.
There was, however, another route by which a priest might teach his parishioners. It was an obligation for all members of the church to know the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. Both Gerhoh and Honorius stressed the duty of priests to help people learn them, and the possibility of teaching through their medium. There was quite a widespread practice of including within the mass a vernacular section, sometimes called the prone, which might consist of a summary of the Gospel, some intercessions and the teaching of these basic texts. 28 We have no solid information about how universal the custom of the prone was, or how effectively parish priests took the opportunity which it provided; but it is possible that the simple teaching of the Creed and the Lord's Prayer was fairly common. It was a very elementary basis for the understanding of Christianity, and it does not modify the general conclusion that the people of the time were witnesses of a ritual rather than the holders of a faith.
26 Canon. 10 (Alberigo, 215). The alternative view was based on Jerome's teaching that 'it is the office of the priest to give answer according according to the Law'. The sentence was quoted by Bonizo of Sutri as part of the exposition of 1, Tim. 3: 1-7 which he largely took from Jerome: E. Perels (ed.), Bonizo: Liber de Vita Christiana ( Berlin, 1930), ii.6, p. 37.
27 H. Maurer, Die'e Hegau-Priester, ZSSRGkA 92 ( 1975), 37-52.
28 Most of the evidence for the prone is from the thirteenth century, and is therefore considered later. For the Lord's Prayer and Creed with explanation, see Honorius, Speculum ecclesiae, PL 172.819-20 and 823-4.
vi. Ceremonial and Society
Ritual and religion were not bounded by the walls of the church, but came out into the surrounding society, invading its space and shaping its perception of the calendar. Ceremonial literally emerged from the church in processions, the most important of which circumambulated the town. The processions for the papal 'stations' or masses were part of the calendar of Rome, and those for Rogationtide were major social events each year. At Bamberg, where they can be traced back to the twelfth century, all the churches took part, the relics of the cathedral were carried, and on each of the three Rogation days a different route was taken through the town. The Palm Sunday procession also went through the town, taking with it the 'palm ass' and culminating in the adoration of the cross in the churchyard. In such ceremonies the laity participated with the clergy in what was essentially a civic event: in some German towns the schoolchildren had an allotted role, and at Mainz, at least late in the Middle Ages, each household was represented by one of its adult members. Elsewhere, it was customary to arrange processions round the parish boundary to keep alive the memory of its location. The date of the origin of these ceremonies of 'beating the bounds' is uncertain, but it is reasonable to suppose that they go back to the original settlement of the division, often in the twelfth or thirteenth century. The Bannkreuz of Flanders, an annual procession to the mother-church, commemorated its status as the origin of the parishes. The response to a crisis was often to institute a procession: in preparation for a crusade or even (at Jerusalem in the closing weeks of the First Crusade) to prepare an assault. The impact of these processions should not be judged by the refined ceremonial of the modern church; they represented the power of ritual to intervene in and regulate secular space, and their effect was, according to their purpose, more like the demonstration, or church parade, or Lord Mayor's Show of our own day.
Prominent in the organization of lay society were the guilds, confraternities, or charities (for all these names, and others, were used). Their origin lay in the Germanic past, and we know from Hincmar and other Carolingian sources that their purposes already included many of those found later. The central event was a regular confraternity supper, and they offered support for sick and needy members, funeral arrangements and prayers for the departed, participation in the offertory, and support for their guild altar in the parish church. The balance of social and charitable activity varied from one confraternity to another, and some came close to being simple dining-clubs; one Italian peasant confraternity became proverbial by its discovery, at the end of its supper, that it had exactly a halfpenny left for other purposes. In the eleventh century, the monastic confraternities were very powerful. These were not local ones but fellowships which admitted a priest or lay noble to participation in the spiritual privileges of Cluny or other abbeys. With the growing energy of urban life, we soon find associations of clergy and laity in the cities, such as the Grand Fraternity at Paris or the one at Rouen founded in 1072. Most continued to have the traditional range of functions, but some were created for specific purposes. Bishop Arnulf of Lisieux and others founded gilds to raise funds for the building of their cathedrals, and there were confraternities for all the purposes dear to the twelfth century: to provide bridges and maintain roads, to fight infidels and heretics and ransom captives, even to compose poems dedicated to Our Lady. Hospitals and leper-houses were run by confraternities. A group founded as a confraternity might later adopt the Rule of a monastic order or a congregation of canons. Conversely, there was no firm line between pious and professional associations. The first mention of the merchant guild at Arras refers to its function of maintaining lights at one of the altars at the abbey of St Vaast, and some confraternities played a crucial part in the running of their town. A notable example was that of the Holy Spirit at Marseille, which in the thirteenth century effectively formed the city government, while having statutes similar to those of any other pious association.
Like the chameleon, the confraternities (or at least those of which we hear most in the sources) took their colour from the surrounding society. Associations linked to great abbeys were specially characteristic of the beginning of our period, when society was marked by a strong sense of traditional solidarities and prayers for the departed, and other spiritual benefits, were seen as given by membership of a community. These groups were supplemented or replaced in the twelfth century by ones with a strong commitment to practical works of charity or embodying the devotion of particular trades or professions. Then, in the thirteenth, there emerged groups linked with the friars and associations of the growing numbers of local clergy. The confraternities seem to have expressed the religious and social aspirations of ordinary people. It is interesting to find that these, while not being dictated by the hierarchy, underwent an evolution markedly similar to the ideals of the influential groups of the church as a whole.
While processions and confraternities were linking local life with worship, pilgrimage influenced the organization of regional and international society. We saw in Chapter 1 that pilgrimage, which in the past had been an activity limited to small numbers, was changing its character. As a movement, it was becoming more clearly defined. Not only did the word peregrinus come to mean 'pilgrim' instead of exile or foreigner, but the pilgrim obtained a special status in the eyes of the churches. The Vich missal of 1083 contains one of the earliest masses for pilgrims, a missa pro fratribus in via dirigendis, and from about 1100 the staff and wallet, signs of pilgrimage, were being blessed liturgically. Meanwhile the great shrines were producing emblems which pilgrims could wear to indicate that they had completed the journey; a system which worried the popes, who were conscious that tokens could easily be bought anywhere on the way. Although pilgrimage could be enjoyable it was, like all medieval travel, dangerous. The Roman Church extended its protection in the First Lateran Council of 1123, which imposed excommunication on all those who stole from 'travellers to Rome and pilgrims to the shrines of the apostles and those visiting the oratories of other saints'. 29 This basic protection was widened to include other privileges. Pilgrims were permitted to have dealings with excommunicates when it was necessary to trade with them on the journey, and clergy were exempted from the canons excluding them from taverns and requiring them to wear clerical dress. Grants of indulgences by popes and bishops expressed their approval of a shrine and gave a further inducement to those visiting it.
The vast numbers brought onto the roads by pilgrimage needed places to stay. These were provided in part by the development of commercial taverns and inns, but much more by the creation of a network of hostels. Since the medieval hostel was an all-purpose building catering for many needs, there is no way of estimating how much of this development was directly a response to demand from pilgrims, but the location of the new hostels is significant. Those acquired by the Hospitallers in Mediterranean ports by 1113 must
29 Canon 14 (Alberigo, 169) = Gratian, Decr. C. XXIV, q. 3, c. 23 (996-7).
have been designed for the Jerusalem pilgrims, and the development of the large hospital at Altopascio on the lower Arno and of a string of hostels two or three miles apart along the roads through Lucca strongly suggests that provision was being made for the journey to Rome, and perhaps also to Italian ports for embarcation to the Holy Land. The pilgrim traffic, like the tourist trade nowadays, was as important in the development of communications as was the growth of commerce.
The artistic impact of pilgrimage was highly significant. We have already noticed the way in which church plans developed to make the shrines accessible to visitors, and it is striking to find a great number of churches of basically similar design in southern France and Spain, strung out along the way to St James at Compostella; a 'regional group' constituted, not by a region, but by a road. Some of the finest artistic work in the period was devoted to reliquaries such as the superb housing for the relics of the Three Kings at Cologne, the arm-reliquary of St James at Aachen, and the head 'made in the likeness of the emperor' given by Frederick Barbarossa to his godfather, Count Otto of Cappenberg, between 1156 and 1171, to contain a fragment of the head of John the Baptist; all of them combining, in various ways, piety, art, and imperial ideology. The arrival of reliquaries from Byzantium, especially after the Fourth Crusade, tended to create waves of influence, with their artistic ideas imitated by nearby craftsmen. In literature, pilgrimage produced guide-books (notably to Compostella and the Holy Land) and collections of miracle stories of the saints, designed to advertise their healing power to potential customers. It also influenced western thinking at a deeper level, particularly through the symbolism of Jerusalem. The crusades themselves were a variant of pilgrimage, using similar terminology and developing alongside the great pilgrimages to other shrines. It also affected the contemporary understanding of the spiritual universe. We shall have to look later at the complex scene of eschatological expectation, but one of its features was a movement away from the traditional expectation of the coming of Jerusalem out of heaven, and its replacement by a sense of quest, the search of the human soul for Jerusalem and the sense of the whole life of man as a pilgrimage to the heavenly city. Like confraternity, pilgrimage was not just an institution. It was part of the soul of man:
Now in the meantime, with hearts raised on high,
We for that country must yearn and must sigh,
Seeking Jerusalem, dear native land, Through
our lone exile on Babylon's strand. 30
The purpose of pilgrimage was usually to pay a visit to the shrine of a saint. The purpose of that in turn might be merely to honour the saint, or because a local pilgrimage had become a convention or obligation; but often it would be to seek healing. Such healing ministries were centred on the shrine in which the relics were kept or a place where a marvel had occurred. The launching of a successful cult often began with such a marvel, which might be great or small: the murder of a noble lady by her husband (St Godeliève at Ghistelles, Flanders c. 1070) or of a churchman (St Thomas of Canterbury 1170), or conversely the death of a horse near a tomb (Guy of Anderlecht c. 1060) or even (Guibert of Nogent complained) the mere fact of a death on Good Friday. When an account of the miracles was written in sufficient detail we can sometimes trace the wave as its spreads out from the shrine, its power rapidly fading into the distance. It was assumed that a saint, like a low-powered radio transmitter, would only be effective over a limited range; it could be said that St Eutropius could not help because he was 'more than ten leagues away'. 31 Distant healings by invocation of a saint were not unknown in the twelfth century, but they were rare, and on the whole the closer the supplicant could approach the relics, the better his prospect of success. Shrines were built with pierced holes so that it was possible to touch or see the reliquary inside (St Osmund, Salisbury; at St Menoux in central France the presence of a shrine into which the head could be placed eventually gave it a reputation for healing the mentally ill). The faithful drank water or wine, vinagium, into which dust from the tomb or wax from candles had been mixed, or they drank from sacred springs at or near the church. Many of the healings took place among those who spent the whole night beside the saint's tomb.
All of this was an extremely social experience. Villages would organize a pilgrimage together led by a cantor, with the sick carried with them on carts. News of miracles spread from one group of pilgrims to another; we have several cases of people who set out for one shrine but were 'captured' by news of a good miracle at another.
30 Peter Abelard, O quanta qualia, F. J. E. Raby (ed.), The Oxford Book of Medieval Latin Verse ( Oxford, 1959), no. 169; English Hymnal, no. 465. 31 Cited P.-A. Sigal, L'homme et le miracle dans la France médiévale ( Paris, 1985), 61. These paragraphs are largely based on this important work, which should be consulted for details.
Healings were greeted enthusiastically by the crowds, and checked and proclaimed by the wardens of the shrine; songs were sung in the vernacular of the life and miracles of the saint, especially at the time of his annual feast. Prayers were both communal and crude. Strikingly we rarely hear before 1200 of advice to confess; more typically devotions seem to be led by the clergy with the laity joining in as best they might (and sometimes, for good measure, singing highly secular songs to match the psalms of the clergy). The primitive assumptions of the worshippers cannot escape the notice of the modern reader, and educated contemporaries were aware of them. As we have already seen, some attempt was made to check the authenticity of healings which were claimed and formal evidence taken from witnesses, while Guibert of Nogent's book on The Relics of the Saints (De Pignoribus Sanctorum) satirized ill-documented relics and popular cults. Yet the great sanctuaries were not relics of a more primitive past, but were being built up with the expansion of society. Specialization in one particular disease was beginning in the twelfth century. Perhaps the earliest instance was the treatment of leprosy at the tomb of St Hubert in the Ardennes, but such concentration on a particular clientèle tended to grow, echoing the increasing specialism in trades in society as a whole. Several shrines catered particularly for women's diseases, both physical and psychological. Scepticism about the efficacy of the saints belongs mainly to a post-critical age, and should not be used as a basis for our assessment of twelfthcentury society. The growth of sanctuaries can more correctly be seen as forming part, along with hospitals and leper-houses, of the attempt to offer remedies for sickness and misfortune in a general policy of expanding charitable provision, to which we must turn in the next chapter.
CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIAL IDEAS
i. The Basis of Christian Social Action
The formation of Christendom did not only mean the building of more, and more splendid, churches for worship; it also involved the making of moral directives to shape the life of society. The twelfth century saw a sustained attempt to apply Christian principles to the conduct of social affairs in a way unparalleled since the days of Ambrose and Augustine. It represented a development of the ideals of the reforming popes, with their concern to purify priesthood and worship. The thinking about the ethics of lay action during the twelfth century forms a bridge between the cultic concerns of the Gregorians and the personal pastoral aspirations of the thirteenth century. The Gregorians themselves provided a starting-point for the new development by their definition of the duties of the clerical order and its separation from the laity, for this almost necessarily involved a redefinition of the duties of lay people within the kingdom of God. We shall see shortly that a sharp, even extreme, separation between clergy and laity was characteristic of medieval social thinking, which in that important sense remained in the Gregorian tradition. A further reason for the new thinking was the growth of differentiation between lay functions and careers and the greater self-awareness of laymen with their new specialist skills. In addition, the study of canon law and the emergence of skilled theologians and administrators made contemporaries much more aware of the social teaching which was to be found in patristic writing. The picture sometimes drawn of medieval society as neglecting questions of poverty, violence, family life, or commercial morality is frankly absurd: although the suppositions and possibilities of twelfth-century people were different from those of our own century, they were clear-minded about social problems and determined in the application of solutions.
A more serious concern about lay ethics was promoted by a new spirit of humanism, which was strikingly illustrated in the work of Bishop Ivo of Chartres ( 1091-1115). Ivo found that human society had value in the eyes of God and wrote of 'the dignity of the human condition' -- an idea which it is difficult to find in Gregory VII or his close associates. He held that need might overrule religious edicts, so that the prohibition of swearing in Matthew 5: 34-7 did not apply to 'human contracts', and it was permissible to have dealings with excommunicates for the sake of humanity. He strove to secure peace between regnum and sacerdotium, 'without whose concord human affairs cannot be secure'. The word 'humanity', after 500 years in which it had mainly referred to the impotence of man in face of the majesty of God, reappeared in Ivo's works in a good sense, shaped by its old classical meaning of 'philanthropy'. This was, of course, a Christian, not a secular humanism, shaped by the conviction that 'honour or maltreatment of the poor refer to Christ'. 1 With widened sympathies and improved techniques of study, the church sought to instill the principles of Christian conduct in a broad range of human affairs.
There was, none the less, a serious difficulty. Since the end of the Ancient World there had been a gap between the culture of the clergy, whose skill was with words, and the unlearned laity. The church had for a long time tried to persuade its ordinary members that if they attended more carefully to the Word they would order their affairs better: 'If only the sons of men would make use of me they would be the safer and the more victorious, their hearts would be bolder, their minds more at ease, their thoughts wiser: and they would have more friends, companions and kinsmen.' 2 In the twelfth century the gap between the two cultures became wider rather than narrower, as clerical education became more specialized and orientated to canon law and theology, while more structured ways of life developed in the cities and in the courts of princes. The attempt to make real the Gospel in the ordinary affairs of men could look very like an attempt to subject laymen to codes of conduct devised by the clergy.
It was recognized that the church, in the exact sense of the word,
1 Rule of Aubrac 1162 in L. Le Grand, Statuts d'Hôtels-Dieu ( Paris, 1901), 17. The reference is to Matt. 25: 40: 'as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' For the theology of Christian humanism, see ch. 15. ii below.
2 K. Crossley-Holland, The Exeter Book of Riddles ( Harmondsworth, 1979), no. 26, p. 47. The answer is 'book' or 'Scriptures'. The manuscript is of c. 1150, but there is no way of dating the riddle.
included all the baptized. 'The church ( ecclesia) is properly so named because it calls all men to itself and gathers them into one.' 3 This definition by St Isidore was often quoted in the twelfth century. Within the one body were orders with special functions. In the Carolingian period a threefold division was the most popular one, and it was succinctly expressed by Abbo of Fleury shortly before 1000: 'There are three grades or orders, of which the first is of laymen, the second of clerks, and the third of monks.' Of these grades, he said, 'the first is good, the second better and the third best'. 4 In our period, this was largely superseded by a twofold scheme which was rooted in the desire of the papal reformers to make a clear separation between the way of life of clergy and laity, and obtained its classic expression in the text Duo sunt genera Christianorum:
There are two kinds of Christians. There is one kind which, being devoted to God's business and given up to contemplation and prayer, should refrain from all activity in worldly affairs. These are the clergy and those devoted to God, that is the converted ( conversi). . . The shaving of their head shows the putting away of all temporal things. For they should be content with food and clothing and have nothing of their own among themselves, but should have everything in common. There is also another kind of Christians, who are laymen. For laos means 'people'. These are allowed to possess temporal goods, but only to the extent that they make use of them. . . They are allowed to take a wife, to till land, to judge between man and man, to conduct lawsuits, to place oblations upon the altar, to pay tithes, and thus they can be saved if they avoid sin by well-doing. 5
This remarkable text welds together two concepts of the clergy: a juridical one (they include all who have been tonsured) and a spiritual one (they live in community without private property and attend to prayer). The lay state is allowable, but that is the most one can say for it, and secular clergy outside communities have no part in the scheme at all. The inclusion of the passage in Gratian's Decretum gave it authority for the future, and by about 1160 the canonist Stephen of Tournai had developed the separation between the two orders with startling clarity. He began by asserting that there was one city (the church) and one king ( Christ), but he then continued: 'there are two
3 Isidore, De Ecclesiasticis Officiis, I.i. 2 (PL 83.739-40).
4 Abbo of Fleury, Apologeticus (PL 139.463B).
5 Gratian, Decr. C. XII, q. 1, c. 7 (678). His ascription of this text to Jerome is certainly wrong, and it was probably composed within the circle of the papal reformers. The thought is an exaggerated form of that in Urban II's bull to Rottenbuch.
peoples; two orders in the church, clergy and laity; two lives, spiritual and carnal; two authorities, the sacerdotium and the regnum; a twofold jurisdiction of divine and human law.' 6 Thus the seamless robe of Christendom was torn in two. There is plenty of evidence in canon law of the suspicion in which laymen were held. It was a principle that laymen should have no standing ( nulla facultas ) in the determination of ecclesiastical affairs. A decretal of pseudo-Isidore declaring that laymen 'are altogether hostile' to the bishops became the basis of regular complaints about lay oppression, which show us the clergy in a state of siege, striving to maintain the service of God amid laity who are the spokesmen of a sinful world.
This absolute contrast could not be sustained. Gregory VII knew very well that there were righteous rulers as well as unrighteous, but his test of righteousness was obedience to the injunctions of the see of Rome. The clergy had the directive authority in matters of morals. On this assumption, however, they were willing to recognize the various walks of life which were developing as lay society became more specialized. About 1090 Bonizo of Sutri in his Liber de Vita Christiana discussed the duties of merchants, craftsmen, and farmers. It was the first in a series of affirmations that the layman is well-) pleasing to God if he performs faithfully the duties pertaining to his rank. Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux asserted that every class ( genus ) had its own distinctive work and pleasure, and he understood the Pauline prophecy that the dead will rise 'each in his own order' ( 1 Cor. 15. 23) to mean that they would be grouped as knights or merchants or farmers. 7 Gerhoh of Reichersberg held that all Christians lived under rule: 'Every order and every profession without exception has in the catholic faith and the doctrine of the apostles a rule suited to its quality, and whoever lawfully fights under it can receive a crown.' In the same spirit James of Vitry, shortly after 1200, described all Christians as 'regulars', a term normally reserved for monks. 8 A long tradition of Protestant historiography, going back to Martin Luther, criticized the medieval church for giving no place to the lay professions within the divine purpose, but this criticism is not well founded.
Nevertheless lay walks of life were never really seen in the same
6 J. F. von Schulte (ed.), Die Summa des Stephanus Tornacensis ( Giessen, 1891), prol. p. 1.
7 Geoffrey, Declamationes ex S. Bernardi sermonibus collectae, 10 (PL 184.444A).
8 Gerhoh, De Aedificio Dei, 43 (PL 194.1302D); James of Vitry, Historia Occidentalis, 34, ed. J. F. Hinnebusch ( Freiburg, 1972), 165.
light as clerical ones. Jacques le Goff has drawn attention to the abandonment of the concept of the three 'orders' of society and the use instead of more secular expressions such as 'profession' or (especially in the thirteenth century) 'estate'. 9 The layman did not serve God in the same direct sense as a priest, and the right of canon law to regulate lay society rested upon the special occasions when the layman came under the direction of the church by marrying, taking a vow, or making a will, or because his business was in danger of leading him into sin. It was a halfway concept. The medieval church did not believe in a secular society, but neither did it think of one Christendom under its uniform government.
ii. Provision for the Poor
'The bishop ought to be solicitous and vigilant concerning the defence of the poor and the relief of the oppressed and the protection of monasteries.' 10 In these words Gratian about 1140 summed up the traditional duty of care for the poor. According to the Fathers and the early councils the revenues of the church were designed for the use of the bishop, the clergy, the fabric, and the poor, and these principles were incorporated by Gratian into his collection of canons and reasserted by such writers as Peter Damian: 'Do you not know that this is why lands were bestowed on the church, so that the poor may be supported from them, the needy fed, and so that from them the widows and orphans might receive aid?' 11 While the principles were traditional, the way in which charity was dispensed underwent some important changes during the period under consideration.
In late Carolingian times it is probable that there was not much institutional care provided. The main responsibility for caring for those in misfortune fell upon their kindred and neighbours. We have no real idea how effective this system was, but it was certainly not adapted to dealing with those groups created in a climate of greater social mobility who moved into the cities, settled marginal land in the forests, and crowded onto the roads between the major centres of pilgrimage. They had left the traditional structures of support and they were more exposed to famine, of which we begin to hear a good deal more in the eleventh century. In a few special circumstances,
10 Gratian, Decr. D. 84, ante c. 1 (294).
11 Peter Damian ep. IV. 12 (PL 144.322A). Cf. Placidus of Nonantula, De Honore Ecclesiae, lxxi (MGH LdL ii. 598): ' res pauperum, id est possessiones ecclesiarum.
9 J. Le Goff, La civilisation de l'occident médiéval ( Paris, 1964), 325.
societies reacted to the new situation by reinforcing the old arrangements: when tithes were introduced into Iceland in 1097 they were made available to the hreppr or local organization to subsidize the expenditure on poor relief. But in most of Europe, there was a growing reliance on institutional care. The responsibility for this in canon law rested with the bishop, but, like so many ecclesiastical obligations, it had come to be discharged primarily by monasteries.
The Rule of St Benedict required monks to give special attention to the needs of the poor and pilgrims, and this duty had been incorporated into the liturgical round. A certain number of poor men were maintained in large abbeys as pensioners. Far more were fed in specially endowed meals on feast-days and in commemoration of the departed. The provision for their souls included not only masses, but also charity to the poor, sometimes on a very large scale. The poor offered an opportunity for the monks to achieve salvation for themselves and others by exercising charity, and the system had the merit of building charitable care into the life of an abbey. There was, so to speak, a divine economy of charity, which was clearly explained to the knights on the First Crusade by Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy: 'None of you can be saved if he does not respect the poor and succour them; you cannot be saved without them, and they cannot survive without you.' 12 The signs are that many monasteries took their responsibilities seriously. The excavations conducted by K. J. Conant at Cluny suggest that about 1050 there were four buildings designed for those in need: the infirmary of the monks (the best of the buildings, it must be admitted), a hospice for the poor near the gate, a guest house for rich travellers, and a small almonry for resident pensioners. Abbeys responded to the growing need by putting the poor under the care of a special officer, the almoner. Lanfranc's monastic customs followed those of Cluny in requiring that the almoner be a man of active charity, and we have a description of such an almoner in Gerald of St Chaffre (Velay, central France) who shortly before 1100 established the work for the poor there and ministered to vast crowds who came for relief. 13
There are striking examples of abbots who provided abundantly for the poor. One such was Æthelwig of Evesham ( 1058-77):
Since our father Benedict in his Rule bids that 'the table of the abbot should
12 Gesta Francorum, ed. R. Hill ( Oxford, 1979), 74.
13 D. Knowles (ed.), The Monastic Constitutions of Lanfranc ( Edinburgh, 1951), 89; M. Mollat , Les pauvres au Moyen Age ( Paris, 1978), 68-9.
be with pilgrims and guests' this abbot always gave bountiful provision from his table to thirteen poor men daily. In addition, until the day of his death, whether at home or abroad, he maintained twelve poor men according to the commandment ( ad mandatum ) with food and clothing in all respects the same as a monk's. He or his prior, who had special charge of this under him, loved with all humility daily to wash the hands and feet of these men with warm water. Some of them were lepers, but Aethelwig washed and kissed their hands and feet exactly as he did those of others. . . Every year four or five days before Christmas and between Palm Sunday and Easter Day a great army of poor and pilgrims used to come to Evesham; all these Aethelwig succoured both in person and by means of monks and faithful laypeople, giving bountiful alms, accompanying the Lord's command by washing their feet, giving clothes to some, boots to more, and money to many others. 14
This sort of help was valuable at times of famine. In 1069-70 Æthelwig supplied the needs of refugees from William I's harrying of the north, and in 1095 Abbot Odo of St Martin at Tournai exhausted the food supply of the house in trying to cope with the needs of the starving population. Abbeys would liquidate their treasures on such occasions, as when St Benoit-sur-Loire in 1146-7 sold a fine silver crucifix, and at about the same time Abbot Geoffrey of St Albans stripped off the silver plate which had only recently been added to embellish the shrine of the patron saint. 15 The needs of the involuntary poor were also remembered by hermits who had embraced a voluntary poverty for themselves. Robert of Arbrissel is a notable example. To a noble correspondent he sent a lengthy exposition of the duty of almsgiving: 'Be merciful to the poor, but especially to the very poor, and even more to those who have left the world for God.' 16 The assumption continued throughout the twelfth century that charity was particularly the business of the monks, an idea which is illustrated by the marked tendency to place hospitals in cities under the care of nearby abbeys.
Nevertheless it was becoming clear that the contribution of the monasteries was not sufficient. The instances of charity which have been mentioned are impressive, but were recorded because they were
14 W. D. Macray, Chronicon Abbatiae de Evesham (RS 29, 1863) 91-3. The reference to commandment is from John 13: 34:
'A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.'
The word mandatum in this context gave us the word Maundy for the day on which foot-washing and alms were particularly observed.
15 Hermann, Liber de Restauratione S. Martini Tornacensis, c. 76 (MGH SS XIV. 311); H. T. Riley , Gesta Abbatum S. Albani (RS 28, 1867), i. 82.
16 Letter to Ermengarde, published in Bibliothèque de l' École des Chartes 5 ( 1854), 234.
exceptional. We hear also of complaints that abbots were greedy and negligent, or even that they actively oppressed the poor. There was also a topographical problem. A large part of the problem of poverty now lay in the towns, and there the monasteries could not easily provide assistance on the scale that was needed; the Cistercians in particular were both physically and in sympathy distant from the cities. Something else was needed.
The texts quoted in Gratian's Decretum called attention to the bishop's duty to provide for those in need, but the position of the bishop had changed. He no longer disposed of all the ecclesiastical property in his diocese, for much was controlled by local churches and even in the cathedral the revenues were often received individually by the canons. The clergy as a whole were still under an obligation to make provision for those in need, and we have no grounds for supposing that all relief of the poor had completely stopped, but it was a matter of personal charity, which was not mediated through institutions and which has left no historical evidence. In the past there had been hospices in cathedral cities, but these may not have been functioning in the early eleventh century, and cathedrals did not appoint almoners until late in the twelfth century. The impetus for change probably came from the papal reform movement, with its emphasis on the proper ownership and use of church revenues. Bishop Peter of Anagni ( 1062-1105) will serve as an example of these ideals in action. He was appointed to his central Italian see by the favour of Gregory VII and an account of his life was prepared by the ultra-Gregorian Bruno of Segni. When he rebuilt the cathedral and surrounding buildings, Peter provided himself with a room immediately above the place for pilgrims and guests, 'and thus visited assiduously the guests and the poor by a staircase'. 17 The initiatives of the bishops were complemented by the laity. There was nothing new about instructing the laity in the duty of almsgiving, which was a normal part of the expenditure of a great household, but it was innovatory to apply it to the needs of the rising cities. An illustration of the new urban ethic in action is provided by Werimbold of Cambrai. Werimbold was a member of the patriciate, born about 1080. He accumulated great wealth and built himself a handsome house of stone. He was converted, it seems, by the sermons on avarice which he heard at church, and the whole family decided to retire from the world into religious life.
____________________ 17 Vita B. Petri episcopi, 2, AASS Aug. I.237B.
They were moved, we are told, by fear of judgement, but much more by the maxims of the Gospel and the friendship of Christ: 18
Exhortati per plurima Encouraged by the numerous scripturae predicamina Appeals that the Bible has expressed, pro Christi amicitia They, for the friendship of the Lord, cunta relinquunt propria. Abandoned all that they possessed.
Werimbold lived in an area imbued with the spirit of the poor preachers, for Odo of Tournai, Robert of Arbrissel, and Norbert of Xanten had all worked not far away, but unlike those later converts from the urban patriciate, Valdes of Lyon and Francis of Assisi, he apparently did not attempt evangelism among the poor, but provided benefactions for their benefit. He bought up a toll which was causing them much distress, and handsomely rebuilt and supplied the old hospice of Holy Cross, which had fallen into disrepair.
The principal way of providing poor relief in the city was the hospital, a building which might cater for the poor, the sick, or travellers, or for all three together. It was thus more like a modern hostel or group home, and it was not a new idea. Such hostels or xenodochia had been provided in the late Roman period and an attempt had been made by the Carolingians to revive the system. What was new was the large scale on which this was done in the twelfth century. A number of local studies suggest that the founding of hospitals on a substantial scale began about 1100, and that the largest number was being founded in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Even by 1150 Narbonne had adopted the logical arrangement of two hospitals and two leper-houses, divided between the old city and the suburb across the river. Paris had a longestablished hospital, of which there is an isolated mention in the ninth century, and which was either revived or greatly expanded in the twelfth. It grew into the Hötel-Dieu, one of the largest hospitals in western Europe, on a site which it was to occupy until the replanning of the city by Haussmann in the nineteenth century. At Genoa the hospital of San Giovanni was founded between 1163 and 1186 under the auspices of the Hospitallers. It became the favourite good cause of the citizens in their benefactions, and in the next century produced one of the first saints of the order in Ugone (died 1233), revered for his labours for the poor and sick. Establishments
18 Metrical life of Werimbold, Gesta Burchardi Episcopi Cameracensis c. 6 (MGH SS XIV. 216).
of any size, and even some of the smallest, were run by confraternities governed by a Rule. When about 1220 James of Vitry described the hospital system as a whole, he assumed that all were run by communities and wrote of 'the congregations without any estimate or definite number in all the regions of the west, who humbly and devoutly minister to the poor and sick'. 19 He was critical of houses which were slack or misused their revenues, but he also mentioned good ones at Paris, Noyon, Provins, and Brussels, and other excellent establishments which were the centre of whole groups, such as Holy Spirit ( Rome), St Samson ( Constantinople), St Antoine, (near Vienne), and Roncevaux (Pyrenees). The international order of the Hospitallers, in addition to its work in the Holy Land, ran a considerable number of hospitals in the west. Nursing the sick was probably one of the functions of hospitals from the beginning, but at first the emphasis was on spiritual ministrations and the laying on of hands. Gratian quoted the disapproving text, 'the precepts of medicine are contrary to the divine decree'. 20 The movement towards the acceptance of medical practice during the next few generations was part of a more general willingness to take the sciences seriously, but given the severe limitations of medical practice the element of custody and care must always have been large.
Alongside the hospitals were institutions of a different type, which were also being rapidly founded: leper-houses or ladreries. Leprosy was giving rise to concern because of the greater ease with which it could spread in the crowded cities. Old Testament texts were understood to imply that the disease carried with it a ritual impurity, but the reason for isolating lepers in a house outside the walls was to avoid contagion, of which (although this is sometimes denied) contemporaries were well aware. Leper-houses were founded by abbeys and by civic benefactors, and they sometimes originated in self-help when a wealthy leper withdrew with a group of fellowsufferers. The motivation of a rich donor might be a recollection of the story of Dives and Lazarus, or more generally a spirit of social responsibility, as in the foundation of the house of la Madeleine at Saint-Omer in 1106:
Since at the castle of S.-Omer the disease of leprosy was springing up in an unprecedented way, and it was very harmful to live unsegregated with such
19 James of Vitry, Historia Occidentalis, 29, pp 146-7.
20 Gratian, Decr. de consec. D. V c. 21 ( 1417).
men, the charity of God inspired a certain rich man called Winred, who undertook at his own expense to contruct a remote dwelling, suitable for men possessed by this disease. 21
Lepers were regarded as forming confraternities, with whom healthy men or women may sometimes have been associated, and in 1179 the Third Lateran Council legislated on behalf of 'lepers who cannot live with healthy people or attend church with them' and allowed leperhouses a church and cemetery of their own. 22
The houses were normally situated outside the cities, and a small fragment of a twelfth-century leprosery which still survives near Périgueux indicates that the rooms faced inwards onto a courtyard with only slit windows looking onto the road outside. The impression is of a decent, even comfortable, provision by the standards of the time.
Did all this constitute, within the possibilities open to a preindustrial society, an effective response to the problem of poverty? Statistically, we have no means of answering that question. It must be remembered that the issue facing contemporaries was not that of raising the total standard of living, an undertaking which would have appeared, and indeed would have been, impossible. They had to set themselves more limited objectives: to prevent the exploitation of ordinary people by profiteering (a topic to which we will return shortly) and to care for the poor and sick who had moved beyond the assistance of the kindred. There is no doubt that care was sometimes given in a miserly fashion and that some people found the responsibility irksome or repulsive, but at least one modern attitude is not found among them: the assumption that the poor are responsible for their own misfortunes and do not deserve help. On the contrary, there was a real attempt to safeguard the dignity of the poor. The almoner was to be a monk noted for his compassion; orphans were to be given dowries to enable them to marry according to their rank; those caring for the poor must not wear fine clothing which would shame them; and a variety of minor benefactions speak of consideration for personal dignity, such as the rent of forty pence a year to provide head-coverings for those shaven for ringworm. 23 It
21 A. Bourgeois, Psychologie collective et institutions charitables: lépreux et maladreries du Pas-deCalais ( Arras, 1972), 301-2.
22 Can. 23. (Alberigo 198-9).
23 Rule of Hospitallers in L. Le Grand, Statuts d'Hôtels-Dieu, 8, often adopted by other orders; and British Library MS Cotton Tib. C xii f. 135v dated 1175/96 (reference supplied by Dr Joan Wardrop).
is also clear that a large institutional effort was being made to solve the problems; it was not a mere matter of exhorting people to be generous, but of creating hospitals and leper-houses on a scale previously unknown.
Throughout much of European history there has been an accepted idea of marriage as a lifelong union to which both parties have consented and which excludes all forms of subsidiary marriage or concubinage. This was the pattern which for many years was imposed by the courts of western Europe and which still is esteemed by people of traditional outlook. It was very largely the creation of the twelfth century.
The picture before then had been one of entrenched marriage customs among the laity which were little affected by clerical ideas without a clear practical application. We know very little of marriage among the peasantry at this time, and our picture has to be drawn from the conduct of royal houses and the aristocracy. Marriage was pre-eminently negotiated by families and designed for the continuance of their lineage. The relationship began with a formal betrothal, which took place in the family's home and included a property settlement even when, as was not unusual, the intended partners were still small children. The ceremony proper would include the endowment of the bride and her solemn removal to her new household, including sometimes the installation of bride and groom in the marriage-bed. It is likely that the participation of the priest was valued as a protection from malign influences which might render the union infertile: Guibert of Nogent, describing the early married life of his parents, accepted that his father's initial impotence was the result of magic. 24 The function of the priest varied from one area to another: in some regions the nuptial mass had been long in existence, although we do not know how much it was in demand, while elsewhere the priest's main duty seems to have been to bless the bridal chamber. Lay opinion took marriage seriously, but there was little objection to a second marriage during the life of the first wife. There was a cause célèbre in the 1090s produced by the French King
24 G. Duby, The Knight, the Lady and the Priest ( Harmondsworth, 1983), 141-2; but see the important review by John Gillingham in JEH 38 ( 1987), 275-7, in which he argues against too sharp a distinction of lay and clerical models, and in particular rejects Duby's interpretation of the affair of Philip I's marriage.
Philip I when he repudiated his wife Bertha, put her in possession of her dower, and married Bertrada of Montfort, the wife of Count Fulk of Anjou. The king insisted on the status of this union as a second marriage and most bishops accepted his view. Nevertheless the affair caused a scandal, less perhaps because of the Divorce than because of the seizure of the wife of another great prince and the relationship of Philip and Bertrada within the prohibited degrees of marriage, and the canonist Bishop Ivo of Chartres stirred up papal intervention against the supposed marriage. The primary duty of a great lord was to provide an heir, and to this end 'serial polygamy' was practised, as in the case of Geoffrey Martel, count of Anjou, who died, still childless, in 1060. 25 Secondary marriage or concubinage was still fairly common in the eleventh century among both laity and clergy. The reaction of ecclesiastical authority to this situation varied. There was a general assumption that chastity was in all circumstances better than marriage, and this could issue in readiness to bless any union accepted by lay convention. Clergy were habitually more worried about close family relationships within marriage than breach of the marriage vow; as late 1164, it could still be said that 'incest is worse than adultery'. 26 Carolingian churchmen had set out a programme of rules for marriage at the council of Paris in 829, which was taken up in the writings of Jonas of Orléeans and Hincmar of Reims, but of this more positive approach there was little sign at the beginning of our period.
Marriage had always come within the jurisdiction of the church, for its ceremonies might involve the participation of the clergy and its laws were prescribed, however briefly, in the Scriptures. The twelfth century saw an enormous expansion in the degree of control which the church courts exercised in matrimonial cases, under the impulse of several different forces. The papal reformers, while being primarily concerned with the right ordering of the clergy, also held that the laity should live in their own proper order, that is in matrimony. Gregory VII accordingly wrote to Genoa to complain that 'we learn that. . . the sacrament of marriage, protected by laws and precepts, is being viciously profaned among you'. 27 A positive approach to the value of marriage now became more apparent, as when the saintly Arnulf, a Flemish noble who had become a hermit
25 Duby, Knight, Lady, and Priest, 89-92.
26 S. Bertin Genealogy 12 (MGH SS IX-320).
27 Greg, VII. Reg. i. 48 (74).
near St Médard, Soissons, prayed successfully for heirs for barren marriages and provided advice to families about the problems involved in forming suitable matrimonial links. 28 The hierarchy was also encouraged to formulate a coherent teaching about marriage by the emergence of challenges to the institution within heretical groups. Already in 1022 heretics at Orlédans were arguing that the church should take no part in the blessing of marriages; a century later, Henry of Lausanne asserted that marriage contracts were purely the business of the laity; and by the later twelfth century Catharists were rejecting marriage completely as evil. It was at first difficult to agree on an approach: when between 1089 and 1098 the monk Ernulf was consulted in a Divorce case by Bishop Walkelin of Winchester he began his reply with a discouraging quotation from Augustine: 'I am aware that no cases are more obscure or perplexing that matrimonial ones'. 29 To produce a coherent theory of marriage was the task begun by Bishop Ivo of Chartres, who led a protest against Philip I in the Bertrada affair which culminated in a sentence of excommunication by the pope at Clermont in 1095, continued by Gratian in his Decretum about 1140 and Peter Lombard in his Sentences before 1160, and subsequently by a series of decretal letters by Alexander III.
The success of the canonists in securing the general acceptance of norms of marriage cannot be explained by any obvious agreement between lay interests and ecclesiastical ideals. The prohibition of Divorce, the insistence on consent of the parties, and the condemnation of close-kin marriage all contradicted accepted practices, and there were innumerable clashes over marriage policies, for instance with successive French kings. Undoubtedly, pious laymen were attracted by a doctrine which saw them as an order marked by the sacrament of matrimony for the service of God in the world. There was also an element of cynical compromise. The degrees of prohibition were drawn so widely that many marriages were made within them, and as a result marriages could be dissolved at the will of the parties on a plea that they were improperly contracted. A theory which excluded close-kin marriage and Divorce therefore coexisted with a practice which admitted both, and the frequent complaints that lawyers made their fortunes out of the break-up of marriages make it clear that contemporaries were well aware of the situation.
28 G. Duby, Knight, Lady, and Priest, 127-30.
29 F. Barlow, The English Church 1066-1154 ( London, 1979), 168-9.
Strangely, the idea of marriage formulated during the twelfth century was a long way from the teaching of the Scriptures. It consisted rather of Biblical elements shaped by the thought of the Fathers and by new perceptions recently introduced. It was based on three affirmations. The first was that marriage is indissoluble. Provided that the marriage had been valid in the first place, there were no circumstances in which it was right to put away a partner and marry another. Divorce in the modern sense was impossible in law and morality. The permanence of marriage was in line with earlier canon law, but the fully developed doctrine went well beyond that of the past in its rigour and consistency. Never before had there been such a review of possible grounds for Divorce (insanity, sterility, misrepresentation of social status) ending in the refusal to countenance any of them. The 'Matthaean exception' of adultery was explained as permitting separation but not remarriage. 30 Moreover, indissolubility was linked with the Pauline doctrine that marriage is a sacrament which 'means Christ and the church' (Eph. 5: 32). Plainly, if this is its significance, it would be absurd to permit the break-up of the union. Gratian expressed the idea clearly: 'As long as life lasts a certain conjugal bond remains, which neither separation nor coupling with another can destroy; just as the apostate soul, withdrawing so to speak from marriage to Christ, even when it has lost its faith does not lose the sacrament of faith which it received in the font of regeneration.' 31
The second principle was that marriage was created by the consent of man and wife. The necessity of consent had been taught by Roman law, and with the revival of legal studies at Bologna writers became aware of Ulpian's dictum that 'marriage is not made by intercourse but by consent'. Canonists went much further, however, in insisting on full and free consent as a constituting element in marriage. The consent theory received its extreme formulation in the Paris theologians, and notably in Hugh of St Victor and Peter Lombard, who declared that 'the effective cause of marriage is consent'. 32 Under Alexander III the papacy adopted the theory, except on one or two points, in a thoroughgoing way. No one could be married against his or her will, and a promise entered into by
30 This was how the words of Christ in Matt. 5: 32 were interpreted: 'every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of inchastity, makes her an adultress.'
31 Gratian, Decr. C. XXXII, q. 7, c. 28 (1147).
32 Peter Lombard, Sentences iv. 27.3 (PL 192. 910). Also Innocent III in Greg. IX, Decretals, XIV. 1. 25 (670).
children had no validity -- an important ruling in view of the use of child marriage in pursuit of political advantage or property. 33 The only ceremony required was a profession of intent before witnesses: 'I, A. take thee, B. to wife.' Alexander and subsequent popes urged, as a matter of discipline, that vows should be sworn at a public ceremony, but he conceded that nothing was strictly necessary except the promises of the couple. Religious ceremonies and even the presence of witnesses were in the last resort optional extras. This formulation had the advantage of accepting the validity of marriages contracted according to a great variety of local customs, but it achieved this within an extreme doctrine of consent which had no basis in Scripture, went far beyond the teaching of the civil law, and shifted the responsibility for the union from the families to the couple themselves.
The third principle governing the new marriage system was the prohibition of matrimony within a wide group of blood relations. Earlier canon law defined this as the seventh degree of consanguinity, but there were two systems of computation. Under Roman law grades were calculated by counting up to the common ancestor and back again, so that cousins would be related in the fourth degree. The Germanic practice was to count by generations, cousins thus being in the second degree of consanguineity. The question of computation was discussed by Peter Damian in De Gradibus Parentele and then regulated by Alexander II. His decision was cited at length by Gratian. 34 Alexander found for the calculation by generations, which had the effect of including a vast range within the seven prohibited degrees. These inevitably extended far beyond recorded family links and, if taken seriously, would have made it hard for the aristocracy to find wives. The rule could not have been enforced, and in 1215 the Fourth Lateran Council limited the prohibition to the first four degrees. Even this was far wider than the incest bars imposed by the Bible or accepted in modern society, but at least it was within manageable limits.
Permanence, consent, and the prohibition of marriage within the kin were the three foundations of the new law of matrimony. Gratian, Peter Lombard, and Alexander III thought of themselves as reviving the teaching of the Scriptures and the ancient canons, but the traditional dicta had to be fashioned into a consistent legal system
33 Greg IX, Decretals, X IV.2. 5 and 8 (673-6).
34 Gratian, Decr. C. XXXV, q. 5, c. 2 (1271-4).
which could be enforced by the courts, and this in itself introduced some major innovations. For the first time the courts of western Europe were applying a law which excluded the possibility of divorce and remarriage; and it became accepted that marriage, being one of the seven sacraments, creates a relationship which cannot be destroyed. It is not clear whether an attempt was being made to to give marriage a more human face. The theory of consent was being stated in terms which tended to weaken the hold of the family, but can we conclude from this that canonists and theologians were striking a blow for human dignity? To believe so is not absurd: this was a time which valued individual choice, as for example in the recruitment of mature candidates by the new monastic orders, and there are several signs of a more humane approach. Hugh of St Victor and Peter Lombard wrote of marriage as a 'union of minds' and a 'conjugal society', and when Gratian and Alexander III spoke of 'marital affection', they may have had the same idea, although in the civil lawyers the phrase probably only meant an intention to fulfil the duties of the married state. The French church adopted early in the century a form of marriage which expressed the consent theory. It took place in the church porch, and included solemn questions about the existence of impediments, especially relationship within the forbidden degrees. These were followed by the contract between the parties and the giving of a ring and a blessing. It was the direct ancestor of the marriage service which is familiar today. The affirmative view of marriage was subsequently stated in the numerous thirteenth-century sermons on the topic, which presented it as ordained by God in paradise, honoured by the presence of Christ at Cana in Galilee, and as being the first established of religious orders. The reality was very far from that imagined by some modern historians, of a 'virulent hostility to marriage' in the teaching of the medieval church. 35
iv. Commercial Morality: the Question of Interest and Usury The ethics governing marriage and charity applied to a very wide section of society, for it was assumed that all laymen would be married and all rich laymen would care for the poor. It was more characteristic of this period to discuss the norms, not for people in
35 For the teaching of the sermons, see D. d'Avray, "The Gospel of the Marriage Feast of Cana", SCH Subsidia 4 ( 1985), 207-24.
general, but for particular social groups. The first positive affirmation of the duties of knights appears in the work of the Gregorian Bonizo of Sutri, who defines their duties as 'to obey their lords, not to seize booty, not to spare their lives in protecting their lord, and to fight to the death for the good of the commonwealth, to suppress heretics and schismatics, to defend the poor and widows and orphans, not to violate their sworn faith nor ever to swear falsely to their lords'. A generation later the Elucidarium of Honorius had a chapter 'on the various estates of the laity', but this was still negative in its ideas of the lay state, and ended with the conclusion, 'it seems that there are few who are saved'. 36
The church faced the development of a commercial economy with initial hostility. The Bible originated in a rural society where the principal concern was to prevent the exploitation of the poor, and the late Roman Empire had been opposed to entrepreneurial values. Twelfth-century writers were familiar with Leo I's view that 'it is difficult for sin not to intervene in transactions between sellers and buyers', and with the proposition that 'a merchant is rarely or never able to please God'. 37 Early councils had prohibited clergy from the practice of usury, citing the psalmist's description of the righteous man, 'he who does not put out his money at interest' ( Ps. 15: 5). The initial impact of the revival of the cities was to cause ecclesiastical authorities to sharpen these condemnations of merchandise and usury, and to extend them to all profit-making activities. Avarice was promoted to be the gravest of all vices, the root of all evil' as Peter Damian quoted from I Timothy 6: 10. Merchants were thought to have little chance of salvation, because their profit comes from fraud, lies, and selfishness. 38 Usury was repeatedly equated with theft. Gratian preserved the traditional condemnations and treated buying and selling for profit as usury, and Eugenius III and Alexander III condemned as usurious the practice of mortgage, which allowed the lender to retain an estate and its revenues until the loan was repaid. The Third Lateran Council in 1179 took the important step of prohibiting the laity, and not only the clergy, from the practice of usury -- yet one more example of the hierarchy's determination to extend Christian moral standards throughout
36 E. Perels (ed.), Bonizo, Liber de Vita Christiana, iii. 28, pp. 248-9; Honorius, Elucidarium ii, Y. L'Elucidarium Lefévre et les lucidaires ( Paris, 1954), 427-9.
37 Cited Gratian, Decr. de pen. D. V, c. 2 ( 1240) and Ia pars D. LXXXVIII, c. 11 (308).
38 Peter Damian, ep. i. 15 (PL 144.234B); Honorius, Elucidarium ii, Lefèvre, L'Elucidarium et les lucidaires, 428.
society. 39 In the middle of the twelfth century the attitude of authority fitted the modern interpretation of the medieval church as inherently hostile to economic enterprise and the growth of capitalism.
Usury continued to be condemned throughout the Middle Ages. The taking of unlawful interest upon a mutuum or loan remained an offence whose gravity placed it in the direct jurisdiction of the bishop. Already in the generation after Gratian, however, usury was being redefined so as to permit interest in normal commercial transactions. The decretists Rufinus and Huguccio took the first steps in defining circumstances in which it was legitimate to make a charge for loans, and by the time of Hostiensis at the end of our period the number of exceptions had grown to thirteen, including recompense for damage sustained by the creditor through the nonavailability of his money and compensation for the risks he was taking. Co-operative enterprises and associations, which Gratian had included within the prohibition of usury, were easily defined so as to avoid the implication that there was a direct loan at interest from one partner to another. Although the circle of Peter the Chanter was engaged in a vigorous campaign against usury around the year 1200, these scrupulous moralists accepted some of the qualifications which were being introduced. Another important step was the issue of Urban III's decretal Consuluit. 40 For the first time this quoted Luke 6: 35: 'lend, expecting nothing in return'. Although this is a stringent rule it located the sin in the intention of the lender and was frequently cited in support of the contention that there is no offence in straightforward commercial transactions. It thus reflected the new values of an age which stressed intention as an important measure of morality and which provided the confessional as a remedy. The taking of gain, since it lay in the conscience of the financier, had become a matter for the confessional rather than the courts, a sin which could be purged by restoration or by charitable works, and even (as the doctrine of purgatory offered a further opportunity) remedied after death. Among medieval thinkers the merchant rarely achieved the dignity of the priest, the utility of the craftsman, or the honesty of the peasant, but the shameful trade of usurer was now limited to a group of pawnbrokers and money-lenders who manifestly exploited the unfortunate. The capitalist could hope for
39 Third Lateran can. 25 (Alberigo 199).
40 Greg. IX, Decretals, V. 19-10 (814).
salvation as long as he arranged his affairs wisely. All he needed was a good confessor.
The emergence of chivalry is the best-known instance of the impact of the church's thinking upon secular society, and there is no doubt that the old ethic of the Germanic warrior underwent profound changes in this period. Familiar literary descriptions such as that in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales suggest that a simple ideal of the perfect, gentle knight became a norm for the aspirations of warriors, but the reality in the twelfth century was a great deal more complex. Out of developing social conditions there came new ideas both among the warriors themselves and among the clergy. There was much interplay between the two patterns of thought, but it may be helpful to consider them separately.
In Chapter 2. iv I remarked upon the emergence of the castle as one of the most important social and military changes of the period. With the weakening of royal leadership and of the general levy of freemen, the household warriors based on castles were the most effective force. The warrior ( miles ) began to be contrasted with the peasant ( rusticus ), whose military significance was rapidly diminishing. At the same time technical developments were making the cavalry the dominant force on the battlefield. By 1100 the heavy lance had replaced the spear, and a Greek writer could remark with awe that 'a Frank on horseback would go through the walls of Babylon'. 41 The word miles already in eleventh-century France was used for a horseman since he had now become the élite warrior. In classical Latin it had meant a footman, and the French chevalier or German Ritter were more exact terms. For a time, the milites formed a middle group between the nobles and peasants, but progressively the nobles began to call themselves knights. The transition took a long time, and both usages can be documented in the abundant literature of the First Crusade; but by the late twelfth century the identification of nobility and knighthood was universal. Although there was a vast social difference between a great lord and one of his household knights, a cameraderie of arms grew up between them, for they were fighting with similar weapons as well as living in one closed community. Initially, and throughout most of the twelfth
41 Anna Comnena, Alexiad, tr. E. R. A. Sewter ( Harmondsworth, 1969), 416.
century, chivalry was a profession, not a class: a privileged profession whose skills were highly prized by the nobility and whose equipment was expensive. The granting of arms to a knight came to be an increasingly elaborate ceremony. The young Prince Louis of France (later Louis VI) was 'ordained' to knighthood in 1098, and in 1128, on a particularly splendid occasion, Henry I of England knighted Geoffrey of Anjou and thirty of his followers with him.
In the eyes of some of its practitioners, chivalry also should be a civilized profession. The romance Alexandre (c. 1130) presented in Alexander's education a new ideal which combined clergie and chevalerie, for Alexander studied the seven liberal arts as well as knightly skills. No doubt he was a special case, but knights increasingly came to value good manners and the ability to compose songs and to engage in the elegant arts of love. There was thus an opening for churchmen to instruct them in higher ideals, but these aspirations were not universal in the twelfth century. They are represented in the romances such as those of Chrétien de Troyes, which were probably more popular among the ladies in the chamber than among the warriors in the hall. The examination of a group of chansons de geste from the later twelfth century reveals that they contain few of these more elegant aspirations, and that the values which they esteemed were the more obvious military ones of courage and prowess. 42 The poets who were writing for the laity had different views about true chivalry; Bertrand of Born's glorification of violence may be a deliberate contradiction of Bernard of Ventadour's belief in the primacy of love.
Towards the knights, as towards the merchants, the official teaching of the church originally reflected almost total hostility. Traditionally the defence of the Christian people was the responsibility of the anointed king, and the emergence of an élite of warriors was regarded with disapproval, especially as so many of them maintained themselves by levies upon the monasteries and the poor. The assumption was that the only road to salvation for a warrior was to become a monk. Geoffrey III of Sémur, brother of Abbot Hugh, expressed this clearly in 1088:
I, Geoffrey of Sémur, have heard the Lord say in the gospel, 'whoever does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple' ( Luke xiv. 33), and recognize the enormity and the profound abyss of my sins. I have chosen
42 J. Flori, "La notion de chevalerie dans les chansons de geste", MA 81 ( 1975), 211-44, 40745.
rather to be lowly in the house of God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked, and having taken off the belt of worldly service ( militie secularis ) in which I gravely offended God, to submit myself. to the service of God, whose service is perfect freedom. 43
The profound opposition to men of violence, which treated the knights as the medieval equivalent of gangsters, continued for a long time: the revealing pun militia-malitia is found in many twelfthcentury writers. But the pope and bishops needed the knights. In France it was necessary to come to terms with the failure of royal government, which had led to an increasing level of violence, and in the empire the Roman Church was looking for forces which it could use against imperial policy. Before the end of the eleventh century there had been three distinct attempts to enlist the knights in God's service. The initiation of the Peace of God coincided with the early development of the new-style milites and helped to give rise to the idea of a knighthood which would refrain from violence against the weak and would serve the cause of justice. A much more specific appeal to the military classes was Gregory VII's concept of a militia of St Peter in which the nobility were enlisted to defend the Roman Church against the emperor, although here we are probably still dealing with a rather more old-fashioned type of military class, for the distinctive features of French chevalerie were only slowly entering Germany and Italy. We have already noticed that in Gregorian circles Bonizo of Sutri produced the first list of the duties of knights, which included the suppression of heretics and schismatics. Immensely the most influential for the future was the appeal to the knights to participate in the crusades. Guibert of Nogent, reflecting in 1108 on the significance of the First Crusade, saw it as the point at which God had lifted His embargo on the military order and opened the door to salvation:
In our time God has instituted holy warfare so that the knightly order ( ordo equestris ) and the unsettled populace, who used to be engaged like the pagans of old in slaughtering one another, should find a new way of deserving salvation. No longer are they obliged to leave the world and choose a monastic way of life, as used to be the case, or some religious profession, but in their accustomed liberty and habit, by performing their own office, they may in some measure achieve the grace of God. 44
This way of thinking is already implicit in the use during the crusade
43 J. Richard, Le cartulaire de Marcigny-sur-Loire ( Dijon, 1957), no. 15, pp. 15-17.
44 Guibert, Gesta Dei per Francos i, RHC Occ. IV. 124.
itself of milites Christi as a standard term for the members of the expedition. An expression which until then had been the monopoly of monks had been extended to knights, and the idea was further developed in the foundation of the Templars and the pamphlet In Praise of the New Militia by Bernard of Clairvaux.
The enlistment of knights for the Peace of God, the militia of St Peter, and the crusades provided a basis for a wider programme of sanctifying chivalry. Long before, liturgical forms had been provided for the blessing of arms when they were delivered to the anointed king, and by 1100 these had been adapted for use in the making of a knight. We do not know how often this was accompanied by religious ceremonies. A comparison of the wholly secular festivities at the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1128 with the ritual prescribed by John of Salisbury in 1159 suggests that those were the years of crucial change, but this may be misleading, for John's description looks like an elaborate programme which need not have been put into practice. The recognition of knighthood as an 'order', which we have already noticed, gave it religious as well as social status. Ideas of ethical conduct were formulated for the knights. Their duties were first described by Bonizo, then by Honorius, and the authors of romances were usually clerks themselves and often had a training in the schools, which influenced the way they thought about chivalry. By 1200 a knight could choose from a variety of models of chivalry, some of them strongly influenced by Christianity. Yet the opposition to violence remained, and with it an ambiguity in the church's attitude, reflected in the widespread dislike of the order of Templars as a mixture of warfare and religion, and in the advice given by the hermit Stephen of Muret:
It shows admirable knowledge, and is very pleasing to God, when a man who is involved in an evil enterprise restrains himself from evil. It can be done like this. If a knight is setting out on an expedition for the sake of his secular lord, to whom he cannot refuse obedience, if he wishes to be faithful to God, let him first speak thus in his heart: 'Lord God, I will go on this expedition, but I promise that I will be your knight there, wanting nothing in it except to be obedient to you, to eliminate evil and to seek what is good on every occasion as much as I can.' 45
The way of salvation was open; but knighthood, like merchandise, was never completely baptized.
45 Stephen of Grandmont, Liber de Doctrina, lxiii. 1, ed. J. Becquet, Scriptores Ordinis Grandimontensis, CC(CM) ( 1968), 33.
The last few chapters have been concerned with the building up of Christendom, that is with the growing consciousness of participation in a society directed by obedience to God and regulated by his representatives, the clergy. This development had a corollary in increasing hostility to groups who were seen not to be part of Christendom. Although to our eyes Christian society was more securely organized in 1200 than it had been in 1050, it was also much more aware of the threats which were posed by Islam, Judaism, heresy, and sorcery. These forces were 'demonized', seen as a conspiracy by the devil to destroy the faith. Sometimes they were literally thought to be conspirators, an idea which can be found as early as Raoul Glaber's report that the Jews of Orléans had advised Caliph Hakim to destroy the church of the Holy Sepulchre in 1009; more usually they were all seen as servants of the devil, and features of one group were transferred quite wrongly to the others. This chapter will be concerned with the emergence of religious opposition within western European society.
i. The Beginnings of Heresy (1050-1140)
'The catholic faith has fought and has crushed, conquered and annihilated the blasphemies of the heretics, so that either there are no more heretics or they do not dare to show themselves.' The triumph of catholicism seemed complete and was celebrated in these words in a sermon of Bishop Herbert Losinga of Norwich ( 1091-1119). 1 Scholars still had a theoretical knowledge of the great heresies of the patristic period listed by Isidore of Seville, but were ill-informed as to their content, and it was so long since they had been living movements that the word 'heresy' no longer had a clear meaning. The heresy of which most was heard in the period of papal reform had little to do with erroneous belief: 'simony was the only survivor
1 Herbert of Losinga, Sermon 14, ed. E. M. Goulburn and H. Symonds ( Oxford, 1878), 418.
of the ancient heresies'. 2 The identification made by Gregory I between heresy and simony was decisive in the history of both concepts, and the standard use of 'heresy' in the late eleventh century was in polemic against bishops who either practised simony or supported the imperialist pope.
Even apart from this problem of terminology, the profile of heresy in the first half of our period is a strange one. Before 1050 we can identify several scattered groups whose ideas brought them into conflict with authority, such as those at Orléans in 1022 and Monforte in 1028. There is little sign of communication between them, and with the emergence of the papal reform movement we enter a period where the hierarchy largely reserved the term 'heresy' for the champions of simony, so that the old sort of heretical groups vanish from the records for a period. The Gregorian movement itself was the cradle which nursed the emergent heretical ideas of the twelfth century, for several of its features anticipated later dissenting programmes. One was the rejection of the ministry of simoniacal priests, which was such an important element in reforming policy. The trouble which this could cause was shown in the fierce divisions at Milan between the Patarini, supported by the papacy, and the clergy and laity who adhered to the traditional values of the Milanese church; and in Flanders by the case of Ramihrd of Esquerchin in 1077. Ramihrd was a preacher from the region of Douai who was questioned 'about the catholic faith' before Bishop Gerard II of Cambrai. His answers were satisfactory, but he refused to receive communion because the clergy present were incriminated in simony. He was thereupon denounced as a heresiarch and burned by the mob with the co-operation of some of the bishop's officers. Ramihrd had opened a division among the authorities: Gregory VII saw his rejection of the sacraments as obedience to the policy of boycotting polluted clergy, but the local church and people saw him as a heretic. 3 Another feature of Gregorian policy which was a source of later dissenting movements was the advocacy of the 'apostolic life'. It could involve itinerant preaching and the creation of new forms of community. It was often possible for a modus vivendi to be reached with the hierarchy through the acceptance of a recognized form of monastic life, but some enthusiasts persevered in their eccentricity. At Hérival in Lotharingia a certain Engelbald founded a community
2 Chronicon Affligense 1, MGH SS IX. 407.
3 R. I. Moore, The Birth of Popular Heresy ( London, 1975), nos. 6-7.
where 'against the custom of the church he decreed that no church should be built there, no mass celebrated and no communion administered, nor should psalms be sung according to the rite of the church'. This was a decidedly unusual version of catholic worship, and in spite of the efforts of two successive bishops of Toul, Engelbald maintained it until shortly before his death about 1110. 4 It appears that the Gregorian programme provided an umbrella under which a variety of reforming groups could shelter, and there were broad similarities of structure among them. All tended to combine a new sense of community, an ascetic master or leader, and a message based on an attempt to restore the church to New Testament simplicity. In this sense we may agree with Brian Stock in seeing them as text-based groups, founded on a knowledge of the Scriptures, although at first this knowledge was probably mediated through the master, who was very often a priest or monk. 5 It is significant that in the early twelfth century attacks by the authorities were almost always directed against a 'heresiarch', a word which is more common in the sources than 'heretic'. It was the erring master with his followers, rather than an alternative programme of belief, which originally roused the anxieties of authority.
It is difficult to be sure whether the official attacks on new teaching, which became evident in northern France about 1100, were motivated by genuine novelties in the message of the dissenting leaders. Probably this was an element in the situation: Robert of Arbrissel, for example, disquieted even bishops who in general admired him by the originality of his ministry to women and the vehemence of his attack on clerical corruption. The growth of urban communities in northern France provided a ready audience for criticism of this type and opened France to the sort of tensions which already existed in the Italian cities a generation earlier. The Gregorian revolution also was inherently unstable, for the popes were at once inciting people to reject corrupt priests and claiming the direction of ecclesiastical affairs for the clergy. It is not surprising that preachers such as Henry of Lausanne complained, for example, of the growing clericalization of marriage. Soon after 1100 we find that the heresiarchs were securing an enthusiastic following by attacking
4 J. Musy, "Mouvements populaires et hérésies au Xle siècle en France", Revue Historique 253 ( 1975), esp., 68-70.
5 B. Stock, The Implications of Literacy ( Princeton, 1983), 88-151. For the question as a whole, see R. I. Moore, "New Sects and Secret Meetings: Association and Authority in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries", SCH 23 ( 1986), 47-68.
accepted features of catholic belief, or at least (and it is hard to be sure which is the correct statement of the case) that such attacks were being ascribed to them by hostile propaganda. Tanchelm of Antwerp (died c. 1115) provides us with a good example of a Gregorian who became a threat to the hierarchy. He seems to have begun in the service of a Gregorian sympathizer, Count Robert II of Flanders, and his message was rigorist: 'He said that the efficacy of the sacraments proceeded from the merits and holiness of the ministers . . . This blasphemer urged the people not to receive the sacraments of the body and blood of Christ, and not to pay their tithes to the ministers of the church.' Our sources add that Tanchelm took to demagogic excesses, including golden raiment, a large armed escort, ceremonies of marriage to the Virgin, and the distribution of his bath water to drink, but these stories (even if true) can be paralleled from other popular preachers, and they do not prove that his teaching was bizarre. 6 Another teacher with an anti-sacramental message was Henry of Lausanne, a former monk and a man of some learning. In 1116 he came to Le Mans where in the absence of its scholarly Bishop Hildebert he 'turned the people against the clergy with such fury that they refused to sell them anything . . . and treated them like gentiles and publicans'. At this stage, Henry may have simply been an anticlerical reformer like Erlembald of Milan before or Arnold of Brescia after him, but more radical views were beginning to circulate in southern France, where Pope Calixtus II at the council of Toulouse in 1119 condemned those who 'reject the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, the baptism of children, the priesthood and other ecclesiastical orders, and condemn the ties of legitimate matrimony'. 7 Henry of Lausanne, having been expelled from Le Mans, preached in a series of southern cities, and we last hear of him in Toulouse in 1145. By this time his teaching was similar to that condemned at the council. He may have been influenced in a more radical direction by Peter of Bruis, the priest of a country parish in the Hautes-Alpes who was expelled about 1119 and for the next twenty years preached in southern France until he was burned, apparently in a popular tumult. Peter rejected infant baptism, the mass and prayers for the departed. He recognized that Christ had offered mass before his Passion, but held that he had made no provision for its continuance; and he taught that it was wrong to
6 Moore, Birth of Popular Heresy, nos. 8-9.
7 Ibid., nos. 11 ff; C. of Toulouse can. 3 (Mansi xxi. 226-7) .
reverence the cross, which was the shameful instrument of Christ's suffering. By this time the threat of unorthodox teaching had become serious enough to require attention, and the first substantial treatise against it, Contra Petrobrusianos, was composed by Peter the Venerable about 1139, to be followed a few years later by a preaching campaign by Bernard of Clairvaux.
The source of these new ideas was partly the improving level of education, which made it possible for clergy to make up their own minds about the meaning of the Scriptures and to apply rigidly the Gregorian policy of condemning the sacraments of unworthy ministers and glorifying the poverty of the apostolic church. It was paradoxically easy to move from an ultra-Gregorian position to the denial of hierarchical authority when this was perceived as failing in its duty of uprooting simony. The heresies of the early twelfth century are thus explicable in terms of the development of western ideas, but there is also a possibility of eastern influence. In the Byzantine empire there were organized churches structured round a spiritual élite and based on a dualist mythology which rejected the world as inherently evil. There is no doubt that ideas were entering the west from this source from 1140 onwards, but historians have long argued whether they can be found earlier. Only one account between 1050 and 1140 is unambiguous: Guibert of Nogent's description of a group near Soissons about 1114 makes clear their radical dualism, but it is possible that Guibert had wrongly identified them as Manichees and was writing up their beliefs from the pages of St Augustine. Peter of Bruis is a more likely connection, with his systematic and reasoned rejection of traditional sacramental practice and his objection to the use of the crucifix, but his views could have been drawn from an idiosyncratic reading of the New Testament. The connections are not strong enough to justify us in assigning the widely scattered anti-sacramentalism of the period to eastern influence, but the situation was to change rapidly with the definite arrival of Balkan heresies just after 1140.
Up to this point the hierarchy had taken little repressive action. There had been few decrees or treatises: Toulouse 1119 and Contra Petrobrusianos are almost the only ones. The very few burnings were the result of the action of the populace, either against the wishes of the bishop's officers ( Soissons 1114) or with their collusion ( Ramihrd 1077). Teachers as influential as Bishop Wazo of Liège and Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux condemned the execution of heretics. Gratian quoted authorities both for and against the punishment of heretics, and at first sight he appears to support the use of force: 'when Jerome denied that the church should persecute any one, that should not be taken to mean that the church may persecute no one at all, but that the church should persecute no one unjustly'. 8 But Gratian was thinking mainly of simony and of the need for the church to defend itself against it. The repression of those with deviant opinions was not at the forefront of his mind; nor were contemporaries keenly aware of it. While enthusiasts of orthodoxy were anxious to control theological innovation by such men as Berengar of Tours or Peter Abelard they had little idea of the investigation and control of popular opinion. It is sometimes supposed that in the century after 1140 the church moved from persuasion to coercion. 9 But before then bishops were not very good at either, and they had little thought of doing more than resist direct attack. If they were to move towards a serious effort to control opinion, new methods of preaching, controversy, and repression all had to be developed.
ii. Cathars and Waldensians (1140-1200)
In about 1143 Everwin, provost of Steinfeld near Cologne, wrote to Bernard of Clairvaux about some heretics in the region. There were two sects, one of which held views we have already encountered, condemning infant baptism, the mass, and prayers for the departed. The other group struck a new note. They were aware that their beliefs had been preserved in Greece; they not only rejected infant baptism, but replaced the sacraments by the laying on of hands; and they abstained from meat and all food produced by intercourse. They observed a division between 'elect' and 'hearers'. These features were characteristic of Balkan dualism. Everwin's description is the first clear account of the Catharist heresy, to adopt the name by which it is usually known. He knew nothing of its underlying theology or mythology: either the adherents did not know it themselves or they were concealing it. There is a mention at Liège of a similar group which also had elect and hearers and taught that 'marriage leads to damnation'. 10 By the 1160s the new believers were well established near Cologne, where about 1163 Eckbert of Schönau
10 Moore, Birth of Popular Heresy, nos. 22-3, giving the date 1144/5. G. Despy (see bibliography) has argued for 1135.
8 Gratian, Decr. C. XXIII, q. 4, dictum ante c. 37 (916).
9 R. Manselli, De la persuasio à la coercitio, CF 6 ( 1971), 175-97.
preached the Sermons against the Cathars which provide the first coherent account of their beliefs. Although some of his ideas may be borrowed from St Augustine's account of the Manichees, he had a good personal knowledge of the sect. He discovered that the refusal to eat meat was based on the conviction that 'all flesh is made by the devil' and that they believed that Christ 'did not truly have human flesh, but a kind of simulated flesh'. He explained that 'in Germany they are called cathars, in Flanders piphles and in France tisserands because of their connection with weaving'. 11 The piphles or publicani, assuming these to be the same group, appeared at Arras in 1163, in England shortly afterwards, at Vézelay in 1167 and at Reims soon after 1176. It is tempting to think that their variant names were derived from the Paulician movement in the Balkans, but that is only a guess. It has been suggested that the spread of heresy and the emergence of stable communities in place of the heresiarchs of the early years of the century represents an 'organizational' phase not unlike the growth of structured monastic orders after the first hermit experiments. 12
It was in the south of France, however, that Catharism was to become established. Henry of Lausanne and Peter of Bruis had won considerable support there in spite of a preaching tour against them by Bernard of Clairvaux in 1145. Nothing is known of the relationship between these earlier heretics and the Cathars who succeeded them, but by 1165 Cathar influence was so alarming that the archbishop of Narbonne held a council at Lombers, near Albi, to question suspected heretics. The meeting had little success. Shortly afterwards (the precise date is uncertain, but may be 1174) the Cathars received a visitation from Nicetas, an emissary of the Dragovitsan church in the Balkans. He was received at an assembly at St Félix de Caraman in the presence of three Cathar bishops, and the meeting agreed to appoint three more. It may have been Nicetas's mission which introduced into western Catharism a more radical dualism: the creation of the physical world was no longer seen as the result of the Fall, but as the act of an evil god, the equal and opposite of the good deity. In 1177 Count Raymond V of Toulouse reported that the heretics 'worst of all, have introduced two principles'. 13 Meanwhile, by the time of Nicetas' visit, the Cathars
11 Moore, Birth of Popular Heresy, no. 29.
12 Moore, "New Sects and Secret Meetings", SCH 23 ( 1986) 57-8.
13 Eckbert of Schönau in 1163 attributed absolute dualism to the Cathars of Cologne, but this may have sprung from his identification of them with the Manichees in St Augustine.
had already established themselves in Italy. During the last quarter of the century their influence was moving southwards through the peninsula: by the 1170s there was a group at Orvieto, where in 1199 its sympathizers murdered Peter Parenzo, the catholic prefect appointed to control it. Catholics were lamenting that 'cities, suburbs, villages and castles are full of false prophets of this kind'. 14
The term most often used for the Cathars in southern France was Albigensians, and in Lombardy Patarini, thus continuing the old term used for the reformers who had been allies of Gregory VII, although it is far from clear that there was any link between them. The Cistercian Caesarius of Heisterbach recalled about 1220 that 'the error of the Albigensians grew so quickly that in a short length of time it had infected as many as a thousand cities, and if it had not been reduced by the swords of the faithful, I am sure it would have corrupted all Europe'. 15 In parts of Languedoc and Italy it had secured its position as an alternative religion. Its adherents could meet with impunity and its leaders or 'perfects', readily identifiable by their black robe, travelled widely and without much danger of arrest. In Languedoc they were not firmly established in the larger cities -- Narbonne remained almost wholly catholic and in Toulouse the heretics were a small minority -- but they had the sympathy of the lesser nobility. In small towns in the lands of the count of Toulouse or the Trencavel vicomtes of Béziers and Carcassonne a great part of the population was infected with heresy. At Verfeil, it was said, few died without receiving the Cathar 'baptism' or consolamentum ; at Laurac, the whole population turned out to hear and revere the perfects. In Italy the heretics appear to have been firmly based in the cities. Although they had some friends among the nobility, their support came mostly from the suburbs, working-class areas where the friars would also make their settlements.
The distinction between perfects and hearers was fundamental to the Cathar community. The perfects had been admitted to the consolamentum or laying on of hands, and thereafter were bound by the laws of perfection: they lived austerely, refraining from sexual intercourse and abstaining from meat and milk, which were the fruits of coition. Although there were horror stories about obscene practices in private gatherings it is likely that the perfects did live in purity and discipline. James Capelli, a Franciscan observer of the sect
14 Bonacursus, Manifestatio heresis Catharorum, PL 204. 778B.
15 Caesarius, Dialogus miraculorum, v. 21, ed. J. Strange (Cologne, 1851), i. 300-3.
in Italy, later admired their way of life and the love which bound them together. The hearers lived in ordinary society, with the obligation to receive visiting perfects and perform the solemn reverence or melioramentum before them. It was the aim of the hearers to receive the consolamentum on their death-bed. The movement therefore offered the prospect of a normal life, combined with an élite whose position rested on personal sanctity. The hearers saw themselves as followers of the 'pure' (Greek katharoi, hence Cathars). This purist approach to religion had its perils: there was no place for repentance after the consolamentum and it was held that a sinner could not 'console' others validly. Italian Catharism in particular fragmented into sections, each offering a rival consolamentum and paying anxious visits to the Balkans to be consoled anew. 'Hence', wrote a converted heretic about 1250, 'all Cathars labour under very great doubt and danger of soul.' 16 Many, although not all, adherents believed in two equal and opposite principles of good and evil, and had thus abandoned the fundamental catholic idea of monotheism. In their own eyes, however, their religion appeared as a pure and original version of Christianity, cleansed from the distortions introduced by the catholic clergy. They had little interest in the nicer points of theology and professed a spiritualized Christianity. A Cathar of Toulouse, who was engaged (as he thought) in a friendly conversation with a relative, explained that he was unsure whether there were two gods or not, but believed that 'nothing of these visible things is good'. He also believed that 'matrimony was prostitution', that capital punishment was murder, and 'that mass was not celebrated in the church up to the time of the blessed Sylvester, nor did the church own property up to that time'. This believer, Peter Garcias, had a Cathar father and Waldensian mother, and his views, with the mention of the ruin of the church at the time of its endowment by the Emperor Constantine and Pope Sylvester, represent an amalgam of the two systems which may not have been uncommon in southern society. 17
The Waldensians had originated about 1174 with the conversion of Valdes, a rich citizen of Lyon. Unfortunately the accounts of this
16 Rainerius Sacconi, Summa de Catharis, 13, cited W. L. Wakefield and A. P. Evans, Heresies of the High Middle Ages ( New York, 1969), 336.
17 Testimony against Peter Garcias, tr. W. L. Wakefield, Heresy, Crusade and Inquisition ( London, 1974), 242-9. This is a later report dated 1247, but it is likely that similar views were held in 1200.
conversion are late, and may be largely legendary. 18 Like Francis of Assisi thirty years later, Valdes resolved to undertake a ministry of poverty and preaching, and at the Third Lateran Council in 1179 he appeared before Alexander III, who is said to have welcomed his vow of voluntary poverty but forbidden him to preach except at the request of priests. The anxiety of authority was presumably the result of Valdes's lack of theological training: his knowledge of the Bible depended on vernacular translations, which he was active in commissioning. Shortly afterwards Abbot Henry of Clairvaux, as papal legate, secured an orthodox profession of faith from Valdes, who declared his intention to live in poverty and to obey the precepts of the gospel as commands. Soon the followers of Valdes were expelled from Lyon, apparently for unauthorized preaching, and at the council of Verona in 1184 the 'poor men of Lyon' were listed as a heretical sect and condemned for preaching without permission. 19 There followed a remarkable dispersion of Waldensian preachers. Before 1200 they had appeared at Béziers, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Toul, and Metz and had founded a group in Milan. We do not have an early Rule for the new society, but it seems that emphasis was placed on the dignity of the preachers, who observed apostolic poverty, and the basis of devotion was the vernacular Scriptures. Valdes had seen himself as an obedient son of the church, and this tradition was continued by Durand of Huesca, whose Liber antiheresis, directed mainly against the Cathars, was composed shortly after 1190. On the other hand the emphasis on the Bible led to the abandonment of priestly confession, prayers for the departed, and the taking of oaths, and there was a demand for sacraments from Waldensian ministers. The followers of Valdes, like the disciples of John Wesley many centuries later, slowly evolved away from the parent body to form a denomination of their own. The Lombard group took the lead in this and in 1205 they divided from their more conservative French brethren.
The proliferation of heresy presented the hierarchy with a new set
18 The Laon account of the conversion is translated in Moore, Birth of Popular Heresy, no. 34, and the problems raised by the source are considered in Lambert M. D., Medieval Heresy ( London, 1977), 67-9 and 353-5. Stephen of Bourbon in the mid-thirteenth century ascribed Valdes's conversion to evangelical poverty to his reading of vernacular translations of 'many books of the Bible and many authorities of the saints'.
19 But there are problems: the Veronay decree is badly worded and may not be intended to condemn the 'poor men of Lyon', nor is it certain that preaching was the issue. Surprisingly there was no mention of preaching in Valdes's profession of faith. See G. Gonnet, "Le cheminement des vaudois vers le schisme et l'hérésie" ( 1174- 1218)', CCM 19 ( 1976), 309-45.
of problems. It was difficult for a bishop to discover heretics, uncertain what was the proper procedure for examining them and hard to prevent itinerant preachers from moving on to deliver their message elsewhere. The pope's position was ambiguous, for in one sense he was the natural leader of resistance against heresy, but it was also his task to hear appeals against grievances. The Arras affair of 1162 and the case in 1175 of Lambert le Bègue, who had been expounding the vernacular Scriptures to his parishioners, illustrate the concern of both rival popes, Alexander III and the imperialist Calixtus III, to restrain the local powers. Inevitably, however, attitudes were changing, and in 1148 at the council of Reims Eugenius III issued a general anathema against the heretics of Gascony and Provence and condemned the followers of the Breton Eon de l'Étoile, a bizarre personality whom the council assumed, probably rightly, to be insane. At the council of Tours in 1163 Alexander was a little more precise about the procedure: heretics were to be excommunicated and separated from the community 'that when all the consolations of humanity are withdrawn they may be compelled to repent of their error'. 20 From this time secular and ecclesiastical authorities in northern Europe were working together against heresy. In England Henry II dealt with brutal efficiency with some immigrant publicani and followed his actions with a clause against them in the Assize of Clarendon 1166, the first anti-heretical legislation by a lay ruler for many centuries. In 1183-4 Archbishop William of Reims joined Count Philip of Flanders in ordering the burning of several heretics. The position was very different when the lay power was ineffective. In 1177 a letter from Raymond V of Toulouse to Abbot Henry of Clairvaux urged that it was necessary for the kings of France and England to intervene. This appeal was probably the origin of the preaching mission of Cardinal Peter of St Chrysogonus in Languedoc in 1178, and thus of canon 27 of the Third Lateran Council. It was directed against heretics and routiers (mercenaries) in southern Francey and it reaffirmed their exclusion from Christian fellowship. It also offered an indulgence and other crusading privileges to those who would take up arms -- an important innovation. 21 The immediate practical consequences were slight.
Third Lateran had been addressed to the needs of Languedoc, and
20 Council of Tours can. 4, Mansi xxi. 1178.
21 Third Lateran can. 27 (Alberigo 200 -1).
in 1184 it was followed by the council of Verona under Lucius III and Frederick Barbarossa, which was designed for the other critical region, Lombardy. Its decree Ad abolendam was in a sense the foundation of later legislation against heresy, because for the first time it formulated a procedure by bishops, who were to obtain sworn denunciations by laymen, and it demanded oaths from lay authorities to co-operate in the extirpation of heresies. It also formally condemned a list of modern heretics, to match the longobsolete list in Isidore of Seville: Cathars, Patarini, Humiliati, Speronists, and the 'poor men of Lyon'. Movements with clearly unorthodox beliefs were condemned along with others which merely practised unauthorized preaching, and as a result enthusiasts of the apostolic life were separated from the church. The pressure of legislation continued after Verona: the bishop of Toul in 1192 demanded the arrest of Waldensians, the council of Montpellier 1195 re-enacted some of the Verona provisions for Languedoc, and the kingdom of Aragon imposed the death penalty for heresy. The actual effect of all this was not great, and the alienation of the Waldensians strengthened the force of the waves of heresy which were threatening southern France and Italy. By the end of the twelfth century little had been achieved by the hierarchy in the struggle against heresy.
Heresy was one way of disobeying the commandments of God. Another was sorcery. The Ancient World had known a great variety of magic arts. There were astrologers who used the heavenly bodies to foretell the future; those who examined omens or texts (sortes) as an aid to prophecy or to discover lost goods; and others who claimed by their rites to affect the weather, win favour, or inflict damage. The subsequent history of magic was shaped by St Augustine's rejection of the entire body of its practices as impermissible for Christians. Having listed a wide variety of them, he concluded:
All such arts, belonging to superstition which is either trivial or harmful, and which is constituted on the basis of a vicious association of men and demons, indeed through a treaty of faithless and deceitful friendship, are to be competely repudiated and avoided by the Christian. 22
The rejection is fundamental: magic arts derive their power from
22 Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana, cited Gratian, Decr. C. XXVI, q. 2, c. 6 ( 1022).
negotiation with demons. The most influential teacher of the medieval world had given an unambiguous ruling. In the patristic and medieval discussion of magic, scepticism about its effectiveness was at most a secondary element; it was generally accepted that sorcerers could foretell the future, influence events and produce illusions, but their opponents said they did so by the power of the devil. Magic as a whole came to be known as maleficium, which originally meant 'ill-doing'.
We know only a little about the practice of magic between 1050 and 1250. Some of the descriptions were so strange that it has been thought that magicians only appeared in the fevered imaginations of their enemies, but modern study has established the existence of learned magic as a reality. In eleventh-century Italy it was already a subject for anecdotes and accusations. Anselm of Besate made it the centre-piece of his Rhetorimachia about 1050; a story grew about the magic arts of the learned Gerbert ( Pope Sylvester II); and the synod of Brixen accused Gregory VII of practising magic which he had learned in a school which Gerbert had founded at Rome. With the twelfth century, scholars began to obtain access to Arabic magical treatises, and the increasing effectiveness of the courts of kings and princes provided patronage for people interested in magic and medicine (which, however distinguished its future, hardly had more scientific basis at this time than did sorcery). John of Salisbury in the Policraticus ( 1159) was disturbed by the practice of magic in the court, while anecdotes by Walter Map and Gervase of Tilbury testify to the courtiers' interest in the subject. By 1200 there was an abundance of magical texts available in the schools, and William of Auvergne was shortly to comment on the number he had encountered as a student at Paris. The tradition of learned magic can thus be traced from the stories of eleventh-century Italy, through growing attempts to make it a subject of study, to the serious practice of court magic in the thirteenth century. Viewed from the modern world, it was all an exercise in futility, but it was not at that time clear that magic had an insecure basis in comparison with medicine or psychology, which were also developing at the same time.
When Gratian or John of Salisbury discussed magic, what they had in mind was the learned practice of the fourth or fifth centuries. Gratian discarded from earlier collections of canons almost all texts which described Germanic practices, preserving only the Canon episcopi, which owed its retention to his erroneous belief that it had been issued by the early council of Ancyra. 23 Given the attention paid to learned magic, it is not surprising to find the emergence of a mixture between it and older popular superstitions. The wondrous women who in Germanic legend had the power of night-flight were now believed to fly with Diana or Herodias; and we occasionally hear of divination and augury being practised by the clergy. In whatever form, the magic of the countryside must also have survived throughout our period. It is recorded in traditional spells, in occasional mentions in sermons and later in the manuals of confessors from the end of the twelfth century onwards. Although the documentation is poor, we must assume the continuation of a living tradition of popular spells and magic, mixed with ideas derived from learned magic and from the ceremonies of the church.
As compared with other disciplines and practices, magic had a fatal flaw. The problem was not that it did not work, but that it worked only with the help of demons. This Augustinian position was affirmed by Hugh of St Victor, who in his Didascalicon denied magic any proper place in a scheme of learning: 'Sorcerers are those who . . . by the co-operation of the devils and by evil instinct perform wicked things.' 24 The reality was less cut and dried than these views suggest, because a simple equation of magic with demonic dealings could not in fact be sustained. Astrology depended on the observation of the heavenly bodies and received partial acceptance as a science, and several writers distinguished between rites which involved demonic converse and those which did not. These partial reservations were not enough to save magic. The prevailing view remained that of Augustine: magic was wrong because it enlisted the aid of demons The sorcerer came to be increasingly associated with other representatives of dissent, and witch, heretic, and Jew came to be confounded together as worshippers of demons and addicted to unnatural vice. The command of Exodus 22: 18, 'You shall not permit a sorceress (malefica) to live among you', was interpreted in the standard gloss as meaning that heretics were to be excommuni-
23 Gratian, Decr. C. XXVI, q. 5, c. 12 ( 1030-1). The text first appeared just after 900 in Regino of Prüm, and is probably a Carolingian capitulary or an amalgam of extracts from capitularies.
24 J. Taylor (tr.), The Didascalicon of Hugh of S. Victor ( New York, 1961), vi. 15 (p. 155). The fact that this section is a note appended by Hugh may indicate that interest in magic was quickly developing in educated circles after the completion of the work some time in the late 1120s.
cated. As early as the heresy of Orléans in 1022 it was alleged that the sectaries met at night to invoke the presence of the devil. When he appeared in the form of an animal, they put out the lights and engaged in sexual intercourse, even with their mothers and sisters. Children thus conceived were burned, and their ashes collected to give to the sick as a last sacrament. 25 For two centuries there was a trickle of similar descriptions of meetings of heretics, including those of Guibert of Nogent, Walter Map, and Alan of Lille. The same things had been said about the early Christians, who had turned the accusations back against their persecutors. Since medieval writers believed that they were faced by a recrudescence of early heresies, it was natural to seize on such descriptions, modified by a new stress on demon-worship, and to produce stories which are probably confections by scholars (although they later entered popular awareness) rather than a reflection of what ordinary people were saying about heresy.
The abuse directed against heretics contaminated the Jews as well. There is a strong belief in Jewish sorcerers, in devil-worship and (as we shall see shortly) atrocious stories about infanticide. The confusion of the three sorts of dissent is illustrated by the use of the word 'synagogue' to describe the illicit gatherings of the publicani. It originated with Walter Map and became the standard term for an assembly of heretics, and later (until it was replaced by 'sabbath') of witches, for it was the witches who ultimately became the victims of this propaganda. 26 The witch-craze belongs to a later stage of European history. Between 1050 and 1250 sorcery was certainly a crime and there were legends of weird women with the power to fly by night, but witches produced much less anxiety than heretics and were the focus of less hostility. It is important to notice, however, that the concepts had already been shaped which later made the witch-craze possible. Sorcery had been identified with devilworship. The synagogues of heretics had been imagined as combining obscene behaviour with the worshipping of the devil in the shape of a beast. The attacks on heretics had formed an image of the diabolical dissenter which could, in a sense with more appropriateness, be transferred to the witch, whose essential character was that of someone who traded with the devil. In 1250, none the less, this further development was still some way in the future.
25 "Paul of St Père of Chartres in Moore", Birth of Popular Heresy, no. 2.
26 M. R. James et al. (eds.), Walter Map, De Nugis Curialium ( Oxford, 1983), i. 30, p. 118.
iv. The Jews
The alienation between Christians and God's ancient people, the Jews, had deep roots. The writers of the gospels had been anxious to show that the primary responsibility for the death of Christ lay, not with Pilate and the Roman military jurisdiction, but with the Jews: 'His blood be on us and on our children!' ( Matt. 27: 25). Although the reasons for this emphasis were remote from medieval concerns, such passages formed the image of the Jews as a deicide nation. They were seen as doing the will of the devil ( John 8: 44) and their assemblies were 'synagogues of Satan' ( Rev. 2: 9 and 3: 9). The policy of the Christian emperors and the popes after the triumph of the church was to tolerate Jewish worship but deprive the Jews themselves of social and legal privileges. In the mid-eleventh century they were still in the position of a reluctantly tolerated minority and were present in almost every country in the west, having entered England for the first time in the wake of the Norman conquest. By this time their communities were largely urban, and they took advantage of the rise of the cities to achieve an enviable position of prosperity and learning. They did not differ from their neighbours in dress or language, for Hebrew was used for religious purposes only and their daily speech was the vernacular. The Jewish schools of the Rhineland and northern France paralleled, or rather anticipated, the rise of the Christian schools, and in Rashi (died 1105) the community of Troyes had one of the greatest Jewish scholars of all time. Christian Biblical scholars co-operated with them, and the influence of Rashi and his school can be seen in the Old Testament commentaries of Hugh of St Victor and his pupil, Andrew, with their strongly literal interpretation of the text. Peter Comestor, although no Hebraist, was master of the school of Troyes and knew their work, and Herbert of Bosham (later theological adviser to Archbishop Thomas Becket) took the opportunity to become the best Latin Hebraist of the Middle Ages. The controversy between Christians and Jews was lively, but was not a mere matter of invective. Gilbert Crispin, abbot of Westminster and friend of Anselm of Canterbury, wrote his Disputatio Iudei et Christiani about 1093 on the basis of friendly conversations with a visiting Jew from Mainz, and this relatively eirenic work became the main handbook of Christian polemics. It was widely circulated in its own right, and used as the basis for a collection of excerpts which provided Alan of Lille with material for the Jewish section of his Summa Quadripartita of perhaps 1190/4. This in turn was found in many libraries in the next century. The Jews were protected by both ecclesiastical and secular authorities. A succession of popes issued a charter of protection, Constitutio pro Iudeis, at least from the time of Calixtus II in 1120, prohibiting forced baptism, interference with Jewish festivals, and any form of violence against Jews. Princes also attempted to stop attacks on the Jews, as Henry IV did in 1096 and Louis VII at Blois in 1171. The change of policy by the authorities, which coincided with the turn of the century and with the mounting of much more severe attacks on heresy, was to alter the position of the Jews profoundly in the thirteenth century.
But dark clouds were already gathering, dark enough for many historians to date the beginning of the continuous persecution of Judaism to 1096. There were problems of two kinds. One was a change in the social and political position of the Jews. They began to acquire a special and very unpopular function: that of moneylenders. The mid-twelfth century, with its growth of the money economy, saw an increasing need for loans; it was also the time when usury, understood in a very extended sense, was being prohibited to laymen as well as to clergy. It was therefore convenient to have a group of licensed usurers whose activities were not restrained by law. Deuteronomy 23: 19-20 had prohibited lending at interest to a brother, but permitted it to a foreigner. Rashi of Troyes taught that 'a man shall not lend to Gentiles for interest, when he is able to get a livelihood in any other way', but Rashi, whose own income came from his vineyards, lived in a more open society in which his coreligionists were landowners and merchants. Increasingly the Jews were constrained by their exclusion from other economic opportunities to resort to usury. Two generations after Rashi, Rabbi Eliezer ben Nathan explained that 'in the present time, where Jews own no fields or vineyards whereby they could live, lending money to non-Jews for their livelihood is necessary and therefore permitted'. This growth of money-lending was associated with a much greater dependence on the secular ruler. The extreme case was Angevin England, where the Jews were treated as a machine for usury, living by exploiting others and exploited in their turn by the Crown, which claimed ownership of all their property. They could count on royal protection for the collection of their debts and for their personal safety, but by the time of Henry II ( 1154-89) this protection had become a claim to monopoly of exploitation. In Germany it was similarly said that Jews 'belong to the camera' or treasury. They were becoming a group increasingly alienated from society, dependent on political masters, their very means of livelihood a sin.
With the growing sense of the solidarity of Christendom, and the odious social role of the Jews, it was inevitable that they would be 'demonized' and treated as a subhuman people. Peter the Venerable said as much: 'Really I doubt whether a Jew can be human, for he will neither yield to human reasoning, nor accept the authorities which are both God's and his own.' 27 Guibert of Nogent, writing about 1115, provides an early example of the identification of the Jews with other out-groups such as sorcerers, heretics, and with the devil himself. He tells of a monk who had fallen ill and consulted a Jewish physician, who was also skilled in magic and who acted as a mediator with the devil, with whom the monk made a pact. He also gives a vivid description of Count John of Soissons 'a judaizer and a heretic'. 28 The accusations of malignity and sorcery produced tales about. Jews who had plotted to take the lives of Christians, and to these was added the new charge of ritual murder. The story was that Jewish worship required that each year, somewhere in Christendom, a Christian child should be crucified for the celebration of Passover. The first occurrence of the charge known to us was at Norwich in 1144, where a boy called William was said to have been the victim, and this was followed by the case of Harold of Gloucester in 1168. In France there was Richard of Pontoise in 1163, and then a case at Blois in 1171, where the charge of murder could not even be supported by the production of a body. It seems that at Norwich the accusation began as a simple one of murder, and that a few years later the clergy and a converted Jew confected the much more 'theological' accusation that the purpose had been to re-enact the crucifixion. Somewhat surprisingly, most of these charges of ritual murder did not lead to any loss of life among the Jews, but there was a serious exception at Blois, where more than thirty Jews were burned in 1171.
The relative absence of pogroms suggests that the demonization of the Jews was still developing only sporadically, and that the authorities were able to make their protection effective. But there
27 Peter the Venerable, Tractatus contra Judaeos 3, PL 189. 551 A.
28 E-R. Labande (ed.), Guibert de Nogent, Autobiographie ( Paris, 1981), ii. 5, p. 252.
was one context in which accusations easily circulated and led to persecution: the crusades. There was a curtain-raiser as early as 1063, when a French expedition to Spain launched attacks on local Jews on its way, but the first large-scale massacres took place at the hands of the First Crusade. Significantly, the atrocities were not the work of the main princely contingents but of armies assembled by preachers or minor nobles, the worst offender being Count Emicho of Leiningen. The bishops and imperial officers in most cases tried to defend the Jews, but found it difficult to do so, and in Speyer, Worms, Mainz, Trier, Cologne, and Prague the Jewish communities suffered many casualties. The unfortunate Jews of the Rhineland suffered again at the time of the Second Crusade in 1146, when Bernard of Clairvaux intervened energetically for their protection, and on the brink of the Third Crusade the massacres extended to England and Normandy, where not even the authority of the Angevin government was able to afford adequate protection. These experiences entered deeply into Jewish tradition and spirituality, which venerated as martyrs those who killed themselves and their families rather than accept baptism, but they cannot be said to have destroyed the prosperity and learning of the Jews as a whole, and their effects, however terrible, were local. They were indicators of the growing alienation of the Jews from the society around them which was to reach its fatal consequences in the following century when the protection of popes, bishops, and princes was withdrawn.
THE FORMULATION OF THE FAITH
i. The Growth of Theology
The years after 1050, and still more after 1100, saw an immense increase in the discussion of the Christian faith. After a period of almost two centuries in which there had been little theological writing its volume grew to be greater than at any previous time, and its importance to be unequalled since the fourth and fifth centuries. The shape of later medieval Catholic belief, and hence the Protestant and post-Tridentine systems which arose from it, rested upon foundations laid by the theologians of the twelfth century. Matters of doctrine became the subject of interest in streets and market-places. The anxiety of officialdom to silence the teaching of Berengar of Tours about the eucharist reflected the concern that the question 'has so filled the land that not only clerks and monks, whose office it is to concern themselves with such matters, but also the very laity discuss it in the streets'. At much the same time Peter Damian was expressing his dismay that peasants were arguing (in front of women, too) about the teaching of Scripture, and later Bernard of Clairvaux complained that discussions were going on in front of the general public in towns, villages, and castles. 1 Scholars were respectful of the teaching of the Fathers, but they were also conscious of their own originality, so that Abbot Rupert of Deutz -- a conservative in his general approach to the subject -- could claim that 'the broad field of the Holy Scriptures is common to all the confessors of Christ, and the liberty to discuss them cannot rightly be denied to anyone as long as, subject to the faith, he dictates or writes what he thinks'. 2 Confidence in the new studies was expressed in the idea that the learning which once found its home in Greece and Rome had now come to France, and Otto of Freising thought that
1 M. R. James, Catalogue of Manuscripts of Aberdeen ( Cambridge, 1932), 36; Peter Damian, ep. v. 1 (PL 144.337AB); letter of French bishops in Bernard ep. 337 (PL 182-540C).
2 Rupert, In Apocalypsim, prol. (PL 169.827-8).
this 'translation of studies' had taken place 'in the time of the illustrious masters Berengar, Manegold and Anselm'. 3
Given the cultural prominence of the monasteries, it is not surprising that many of the outstanding theologians were monks. Lanfranc of Pavia, who had come to France for study, joined the newly founded monastery of Bec in Normandy about 1042 and subsequently became its head. He was an internationally famous teacher, author of an important tract against Berengar of Tours, De Corpore et Sanguine Domini, and a commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul, and he ended a distinguished career as archbishop of Canterbury ( 1070-89). Still more outstanding was his protégé Anselm, also a north Italian, who succeeded him at both Bec and Canterbury. Two of Anselm's books occupy a special position in the history of Christian thought: Proslogion ( 1078), which provided the so-called ontological proof for the existence of God, and Cur Deus Homo (completed 1098), a major reassessment of the doctrine of salvation. Another important figure in monastic theology was Rupert, a monk of St Lambert of Liège and abbot of Deutz from about 1120 to 1130. He wrote a vast range of Scriptural commentaries and other works and was a vigorous opponent of the methods being adopted in the urban schools. The most influential teaching, however, came less from abbeys of traditional observance than from the new orders, and above all from the spiritual theology of the Cistercians. Towering above all others was Bernard of Clairvaux, but there were also William of St Thierry, Ælred of Rievaulx, and a host of others, most of them basing their thought on Bernard's.
There are important common features among all those who were doing theology in the twelfth century. They began from the same set of traditional commentaries, and most of them shared a concern for the practical application of their studies in the worship and discipline of the church. Leading Cistercian thinkers had been students, and sometimes masters, in the schools. Moreover the gulf between the monasteries and the city schools was bridged by the regular canons. The outstanding school of these was St Victor, founded at Paris by William of Champeaux about 1113. Hugh of St Victor, who entered the house about 1115 and remained there until his death in 1141, was one of the most influential theologians of the century, and his work
3 Otto, Chronicon, v. prol., tr. C. C. Mierow, 323, referring to Anselm of Laon. The choice of scholars is odd, and Richard Southern has suggested that it was intended to indicate the declining standards of the modern age.
included the Didascalicon (a major educational treatise) and the fullest exposition so far of sacramental theology, De Sacramentis Christiane Fidei ( 1130-7). Later works from the school included the De Trinitate of Richard of St Victor (prior 1162, died 1173) and the literalist Biblical commentaries of Andrew (died 1175). The canons regular were a diverse movement who as a whole do not represent a single school of thought, but some similarities of emphasis many be found. Scholars such as Gerhoh, provost of Reichersberg ( 1132-69) and Bishop Anselm of Havelberg (died 1158) were well acquainted with the work of the schools, but their interests were less in critical questions of theology than in the philosophy of history, a subject which was prominent in the work of Hugh of St Victor, in contrast with most city masters whose approach was quite different.
Nevertheless, we have to distinguish sharply between different schools of thought or, perhaps more exactly, between different contexts of thinking. One of these was the cathedral schools, in which theology increasingly emerged as (in our terms) an academic discipline, shaped by the technical requirements of teaching and learning. Beside this we must place a much wider area of thought devoted to human relationships, in which theology was fed by devotion and personal experience: a humanism which was distinctive of, but by no means confined to, the new religious orders. Practical issues relating to the penitential system and the sacraments (and hence the doctrine of salvation and atonement) provided another area of activity; and there was the group of mainly German thinkers who saw the key to the understanding of the contemporary world in history and eschatology. It is tempting to pick out one of these schools as specially significant for the future, but this would be to misrepresent the variety of approaches which existed in the twelfth century.
ii. The Science of Theology
Among the masters of the rising schools, the first to make an important contribution to the history of doctrine was Berengar, who was scholasticus at Tours from about 1032 and taught there for much of his life until he died in 1088. A brilliant logician, he applied the new dialectical techniques to theology, but his most famous role was in formulating Eucharistic ideas which gave rise to a long-running controversy. A generation later M. Anselm of Laon (died 1117) was establishing many of the theological methods to be used in the schools, and his Biblical commentaries became the basis of the later standard or 'ordinary' gloss. Increasingly, however, it was to be Paris which was the centre of theological teaching. Before 1100 there was already Manegold, the 'master of modern masters', and soon afterwards William of Champeaux, a pupil of Anselm of Laon. About 1113 Peter Abelard began to teach at Paris; like Berengar, he had been trained as a logician and applied its methods in theology. 4 He was a man with a talent for trouble, and twice found himself condemned by authority, at the council of Soissons in 1121 and, as a result of action by Bernard of Clairvaux and William of St Thierry, at Sens in 1140. His works (notably the Theologia Christiana, the Ethics and the Sic et Non ) are among the most original and stimulating of the period. Another major Paris teacher was M. Gilbert of Poitiers ( de la Porée ), an immensely learned man whose doctrine of the Trinity provoked Bernard to arraign him at the council of Reims in 1148. By this time there was an increasing number of senior churchmen who had lectured or studied in theology at Paris, including the English scholars Robert Pullen (papal chancellor 1144-6), Robert of Melun (bishop of Hereford 1163-7), and john of Salisbury (bishop of Chartres 1176-80). Peter Lombard was at Paris from about 1134, and formulated the methods and conclusions of Paris theology in his Four Books of Sentences ( 11558). The collection generated a good deal of controversy, but was accepted as the standard text in the schools; at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 under Innocent III, a Paris theologian himself, Lombard's work was mentioned as authoritative. Almost as influential as Lombard was his pupil, Peter Comestor, who came to Paris from his native Troyes shortly before 1158 and who specialized in the production of 'aids to study' which summarized existing scholarship and were immensely popular. The most famous was the Biblical history, the Historia Scholastica, which he completed shortly after 1170.
Alongside these masters was a rather distinct group founded by Bernard and Thierry of Chartres. Bernard, whose works do not survive, was a famous master of the early years of the century and
4 If we are to believe his autobiography, the Historia Calamitatum, Abelard had no proper theological training before he began to lecture and was contemptuous of the approach of Anselm of Laon. There are serious questions about the authenticity and reliability of this entertaining work.
was outlived by his younger brother Thierry, who died some time after 1150. Their pupil William of Conches (died c. 1154) was a voluminous writer in the same tradition, the influence of which is evident in Bernard Silvestris and -- combined with ideas drawn from Gilbert of Poitiers -- in Alan of Lille (died 1202). This approach was for a long time ascribed to the cathedral school of Chartres, but it is now questionable whether this is correct, or whether we have here another group of Paris masters with a distinctive outlook. They were Platonist in approach and had a strong interest in cosmology and in the account of the creation in Genesis, which Thierry interpreted in the light of Plato's Timaeus. The idea of Nature as a force of order, working in accordance with God's plan, was a favourite theme. The attempt to restate Neoplatonist concepts from Macrobius, Boethius, and others involved them in a number of major intellectual problems, because Platonic ideas did not sit happily with the Biblical image of God, nor with the Aristotelian logic which was an indispensible tool in the teaching of the schools. John of Salisbury, in spite of his personal admiration for Bernard of Chartres, unkindly observed that they tried to bring Plato into agreement with Aristotle and 'worked in vain to reconcile after death those who disagreed throughout their lives'. 5
The study of doctrine which these scholars pursued was a rational, at times almost a rationalist, activity; and thereby hangs a paradox. It was an age in which most people accepted without question the formularies of the faith and scholars were governed by the authority of the Bible and the Fathers, yet doctrine was analysed, defined, and codified in a way for which there is no previous parallel. There is no puzzle about the starting-point in this process. It had always been recognized that the Christian should not rest content with blind affirmation, but should strive to understand his faith. A key text was Isaiah 7: 9, 'Unless you believe, you will not understand,' which both Anselm of Canterbury and Peter Abelard used as a justification of their methods: 'I do not seek to understand in order to believe, but I believe in order to understand.' 6 Both claimed to be writing in response to requests for explanation, and it is likely that the desire to understand was stimulated by an awareness of the low level of basic
5 John of Salisbury, Metalogicon, ii. 17 (PL 199.875D).
6 Anselm, Proslogion, i, ed. Schmitt, i. 100. The text is also cited in Abelard, Theologia Christiana, iii. 51, ed. E. M. Buytaert, CC(CM) xii.2 ( 1969) 215. It was quoted in the Old Latin version, which differed from the Vulgate but was known from Augustine's quotation of it.
comprehension in society as a whole. William of Conches complained that some people 'do not want us to inquire beyond what is written, but to believe simply like a peasant'. 7 But a rational approach to religion did not necessarily rest on this elitist basis: some works were specifically designed to demonstrate the truth of the Christian faith to unbelievers, who did not accept the same Scriptures but might be persuaded by rational argument. Anselm's two great works, the Proslogion and Cur Deus Homo? , were of this kind, and so was Abelard's Dialogue between a Jew, a Christian and a Philosopher. The most obvious targets for such apologetics were the Jews, but it is has been argued by some scholars that they were also designed as an appeal to Islam.
It was accepted that secular learning should be applied in the elucidation of Biblical teaching or, to use the technical terms of the time, the artes were to be used in studying the sacra pagina or sacred page. This had been Augustine's plan in his De Doctrina Christiana and the principle was not challenged. In the schools of northern France, however, the arts had come to be dominated by logic or dialectic, which provided the masters with an array of arguments, questions, and distinctions which the Fathers could not have anticipated. Terminology drawn from logic invaded the study of doctrine, and some scholars saw in it the key which would give access to the mysteries contained in the Scriptures. The use of the resources of logic to order theological masterial is a central theme in the emergence of theology as a discipline, and its influence can be observed in the approach to a number of major issues.
The first was the conflict of authorities, as scholars brought to life books whose teaching created difficulties. On the whole it was not a matter of discovering previously unknown works, although these became increasingly important late in the century, but of the more intensive study of available texts. The interest of the so-called Chartres school in Neoplatonic ideas opened a wide range of issues, and the controversy over the Trinity, in which Gilbert of Poitiers became involved, was partly the result of his devotion to the teaching of St. Hilary of Poitiers, whose trinitarian doctrine had been shaped in the east and was more Greek than Latin. Even at the time, it was realized that there was a difference between the Eucharistic teaching of Ambrose and Augustine. The analysis of contradictory
7 Glossa in Boetium, cited M.-D. Chenu, Nature, Man and Society ( Chicago, 1968), 12 n.
authorities was a task to which logic was well adapted, and the introduction to Abelard's Yes and No ( Sic et Non ) was a model exposition of the methods which should be used. The scholar had to ensure that the text was authentic, and that its meaning had been rightly understood in context. The weight of conflicting authorities should then be compared, since some (and most of all the Scriptures) were of much greater force than others. It was a programme which in fact was not followed. Abelard simply left his readers with the conflicting statements, yes and no, without providing a resolution, and those who followed him failed to see the force of his approach. The Sentences or collections of authorities were to be the basis of study in the schools, but they were almost all marked by inaccurate texts, misattributions, misunderstandings, and the failure to determine the force of a particular authority.
This introduces us to the second feature in the emergence of theology as a discipline: the provision of techniques for study to satisfy needs which were now quite different from the reflective meditation which had been developed by the monks. True, the new methods grew from the traditional root of commentaries on the Biblical text. In the previous century the commentaries of Lanfranc and of Bruno of Cologne had been a compilation of patristic quotations, but increasingly this method was succeeded by original discussion of the literal and symbolic meaning of the text. The favourite parts of the Scriptures for comment were Genesis, the Psalms and, above all, the Pauline epistles, to which in monastic circles the Song of Songs was added, and these preferences reflected the range of interests in theology, cosmology, and spirituality. Biblical commentaries provided a nursery for new ways of study. From early in the twelfth century commentators isolated one or two difficult problems and discussed them more extensively as 'Questions', whose function was similar to that of the 'Appendices' in a modern commentary. As time went on the Questions came to occupy more space than the comment, and finally the comment was dropped altogether: the process may be seen, for example, in the commentary on Paul by Robert of Melun ( 1145/55). The Question provided the opportunity for the logical analysis of a statement in the text, and it also helped to satisfy another concern, the provision of a wider range of opinions from the Fathers. Such compilations of Sentences, arranged around the discussion of a series of questions, culminated in the authoritative one by Peter Lombard. By the later part of the century a solid foundation of textbooks had been provided in the so-called 'ordinary gloss', the Sentences of Peter Lombard and the Historia Scholastica of Peter Comestor.
The topics to which this material was addressed were often practical, as in the case of Peter Abelard's Ethics or the De Sacramentis of Hugh of St Victor; but they could also be highly speculative. The doctrine of the Trinity was a matter of central interest in the works of both Abelard and Gilbert de la Porée. There were all sorts of reasons for its prominent position on the agenda. Because of the filioque dispute it had become an issue between east and west, and was prominent at Urban II's Council of Bari in 1098. The Trinity was necessarily an important issue in controversies with Judaism; and a new sense of the humanity of Christ raised problems about the sense in which he was God, and therefore about the character of the Trinity. But the most exciting feature, from the point of view of speculative thinkers, was the possibility that the relationship between the three Persons could be clarified by dialectical methods. A series of thinkers tried to apply the concept of substance, which was fundamental in philosophy, to the comprehension of a God who was three Persons in one substance.
It was much the most controversial of the new methods, and conservatives who were not necessarily opposed to the use of the artes strongly objected to the use of logic to elucidate the mystery of the Trinity. This was the battle-ground in many of the clashes of the period, notably the controversy between Rupert of Deutz and Anselm of Laon before 1117 and the confrontations of Bernard of Clairvaux with Abelard and Gilbert. The objectors had much justice on their side, because there was a serious difficulty about the logic of the attempt. God is pure Being, subject to no attributes and qualities, and in those circumstances the accepted rules of logic were inapplicable. Boethius had recognized the existence of a separate area of thought, which he termed 'theology', distinct from the conditions of change and contingency to which logical analysis could be applied. In the strictest sense, the question was whether it was possible to say anything about God at all, or whether He could merely be apprehended by faith and love. The answer of Peter Abelard in his Theologia Christiana was the doctrine of analogy. We can use images of God, which have a certain resemblance to him, but are nevertheless susceptible of logical treatment. 'Whatever we assert about this highest philosophy we profess to be the shadow, not the truth, and as it were a certain likeness, not the thing itself.' 8 By the time of Alan of Lille's Regulae Theologicae about 1160 the analysis had become more subtle, and the rules defined with some precision what types of analogy could be used of God and in what senses qualities could be attributed to him. Alan's work was widely read in later centuries, but the validity of this approach still did not satisfy everyone, and a different line of argument was to be employed by Aquinas in the next century. Nevertheless, the effect of these changes was already, by the later part of the twelfth century, to constitute theology as a discipline of study. It had its own name ( Abelard's Christian Theology was one of the first instances of its use to describe an academic discipline), its proper subject-matter, and its text-books. It was an important stage in the history of the Christian faith.
iii. The Theology of Humanism
For the first time in centuries, the church had a non-monastic theology designed for men who would eventually occupy important public offices. Even the Cistercian teaching, which was directed to monks and included an element of conscious rejection of the work of the schools, was addressed to hearers who had been brought up in the world and educated outside the monastery, and the Cistercians more than anyone were champions of new patterns of piety. There are a few instances where an innovation in worship was rejected out of simple conservatism: Anselm of Laon criticized the overemotional ceremonies which were developing on Good Friday and Bernard of Clairvaux refused to countenance the feast of the immaculate conception of Mary. But the prevailing tendency was towards a theology sensitive to contemporary aspirations.
The pattern of education formed in theologians a degree of optimism about humanity. In their days as students of the artes they had a chance to absorb something of classical humanism, and in theology they were taught to use human analogies as an approach to the nature of God. Although Bernard rejected Abelard's analogies, he did not do so on the ground that there was no point of contact between God and man, but rather that Abelard was looking in the wrong place, to reason instead of love. Richard of St Victor used the experience of human love to illuminate the nature of the Trinity: 'the proof of perfect charity is to wish to share with another the love we receive'. 9 It is therefore not surprising to find in the theology of the time a new sense of the dignity of man. Christian doctrine contains an ambiguity about humanity, which had been expressed by Peter Damian: 'All things are truly man's, if man himself is truly man. For it is possible to be a man in name alone, and also to be really and truly a man.' 10 Accordingly the word 'humanity' had both a good and a bad sense in Christian tradition. It did not wholly lose the idea of philanthropy which it had possessed in classical usage, but the dominant sense was that of frailty, stated by Gregory the Great: 'Holy Scripture is accustomed to include all those who seek the things of the flesh under the name of humanity'. 11 From Ivo of Chartres onwards we find a powerful statement of respect for humanity which was not confined to redeemed mankind, whose dignity had never been in doubt, but was directed also to man in the natural order. As William of St Thierry wrote about 1130, 'the upright form of man, stretching toward heaven and looking upwards, signifies the imperial and royal dignity of the rational soul'. 12 Peter Abelard stated this in a brilliant hymn for Saturday mattins:
Fit omnium novissimus --- Man was made last of everything
homo, qui presit omnibus. --- and over all was set as king.
Ad hunc cuncta --- The rest was planned
spectabant terminum --- for this alone.
tamquam finem --- Creation's purpose
cunctorum unicum. --- is made known.
Summus creatur omnium, --- Man is created as the best,
in quo summa stat operum. --- and is the sum of all the rest.
In hoc omnis --- For in this one
expletur termino --- and final name
consilli --- God's wisdom has
divina ratio. --- achieved its aim.
10 Peter Damian, De brevi Vita Pontificum Romanorum, 5 (PL 145. 479), commenting on 1 Cor. 3: 22-3, 'all things are yours. . . . and you are Christ's'.
11 Gregory, Moralia in Iob, xviii.54.92 (PL 76.94D). 'philanthropy' meaning may be found in the decretals of pseudo-Theodore, where it is permitted to reconcile an excommunicate on his deathbed propter humanitatem (xx. 12, cited in Leges Henrici Primi 70.17, ed. L. J. Downer ( Oxford, 1972), p. 224). There is an excellent discussion of the subject in R. Sprandel, Ivo von Chartres ( Stuttgart, 1962), 24-8. For humanism as a basis for Christian social action, see ch. 13.i above.
12 William of St Thierry, De Natura Corporis et Animae (PL 180.714B).
9 Richard, De Trinitate, iii. 11, ed. J. Ribaillier ( Paris, 1958), 146.
Hoc unum plasma nobile --- This single noble being here,
in quo resplendes, domine, --- Lord, is the place your light shines clear.
illud tue --- The beauty of
decus imaginis --- your image he.
et gloria --- Your likeness now
similitudinis. 13 --- the world can see.
Humanism issued in a new sense of the value of human love. As far as our evidence goes, this appeared quite suddenly in the opening decades of the twelfth century, and it spread throughout many forms of literature, including the lyrics of the troubadours and trouvères and the romances. Religious authors shared the same high view of love. It is striking to read in the works of a monk of an austere order that 'the art of arts is the art of love, whose teaching nature has reserved to herself, and God the author of nature . . . For love is the force of the soul, bearing with it a natural bias towards its place and end.' 14 The idea of a continuum of experience between the love of men and the love of God was a fundamental of Cistercian spiritual teaching. William of St Thierry used the term 'fleshly love', which in the past had been an evil to be avoided, in the affirmative sense of natural affection, the love of family which is the start of the soul's ascent to God. For Bernard, this was the secret psychology of the incarnation: 'I think that this was the main cause why the invisible God wished to be seen in the flesh, and as man to converse with men: so as to draw all the affections of fleshly men, who could only love in a fleshly way, to the saving love of his flesh, and thus by stages to lead them to a spiritual love.' 15 Both of these writers saw in love the central mystery of the universe: 'What is so like to God as love? God, in fact, is love.' 16 In his Paraclete Hymnbook Abelard, who had a talent for expressing new truths in an awkward form, pointed the analogy between the growth of a man's body and of charity in the soul, and provided Heloïse, his former mistress and wife, with some remarkable sentiments to sing every Thursday at lauds:
Virtutum caritas --- All virtues charity
est consummatio, --- consummates truly,
virilis virium --- as man's ability
13 J. Szövérffy, Peter Abelard's Hymnarius Paraclitensis ( New York, 1975), ii. 32-4.
14 William of St Thierry, De Natura et Dignitate Amoris, 1, PL 184.379C.
15 Bernard, Sermo 20 in Cant. 6 (Opera i. 118).
16 Bernard, Sermo 69 in Cant. 6 (Opera ii. 205).
aetas perfectio. --- time perfects duly.
Ut corpus hominis --- Just as the body fills
hoc implet viribus --- with manly power,
sic mentem caritas --- love consummates our wills
consummat moribus. 17 --- with virtue's flower.
The assertion of a close connection between human love and the love of God rested on traditional ideas which were being used in a new way. St Augustine had held that every human mind is led by the love of certain things, which impart to it a weight or bias. William of St Thierry adopted the same idea, while giving it a warmth which it had previously lacked. By amor Augustine had only meant direction or inclination, whereas the Cistercians took it to be natural affection or love. Another starting-point was the Song of Songs, whose erotic symbolism had traditionally been understood as expressing the love of Christ for the church or for the individual soul. Interest in the Song of Songs was already growing in the eleventh century, for a German translation had been dedicated to Henry IV and about 1084, in the circle of the Countess Matilda, John of Mantua had written a commentary. The outstanding meditation on it was to be the series of sermons by Bernard of Clairvaux, which formed a large body of spiritual teaching still incomplete at his death in 1153 and was followed by commentaries by other Cistercians.
All the same, distinctions had to be made. There was no inclination to see personal relations outside the monastery as being as valid as those within it. The word amor stood for any kind of love, or more precisely according to Augustinian psychology any object of desire, but there was a separate word for that love which was divinely given: caritas. As Ælred of Rievaulx wrote, 'it is plain that charity is love, but is is not less plain that not all love is charity'. 18 There was also another word which helps to underline this difference, amicitia. We translate it as 'friendship', but that does not convey the overtones which it had for the men of the time, who were aware that it is cognate with amor. In French the word amis could be used of a lord, a lover in the modern sense, or a friend, and all were spoken of in deeply emotional terms. Ællred's lament over his dead friend Simon is a lover's cry of anguish:
You were the example by whom I lived, the guide whom I followed --
17 Szövérffy, Hymnarius, ii. 66. The word virilis is not as overtly sexual as 'virile' in English, but the thought is not far away.
18 Aelred, Speculum Caritatis, iii. 7 (PL 195.583D).
where have you gone? Where are you now? Where shall I turn? Whom shall I take for my guide? How are you torn from my embrace, rent from my kisses, hidden from my eyes? I will embrace you, dear brother; not with the flesh, but in the heart. I will kiss you, not with the touch of the lips, but with the affection of the mind. 19
As in most of their thought about social relationships, monks and scholars based their understanding of friendship upon the rediscovery of the past. Christian friendship was discussed by some of the Fathers, notably Ambrose and Cassian, and Carolingian scholars were keenly interested in the idea. The friendship cult of the twelfth century was directly influenced by classical models, as set out in the letters of Seneca, some poems of Horace, and above all Cicero's treatise on friendship, the De Amicitia, the best-loved book by a nonChristian author. From these sources was derived a small stock of texts and images. There was the definition of Cicero: 'Friendship is nothing other than a common mind ( consensio ) in divine and human things, with benevolence and charity.' 20 This provided a classical parallel to the description of the apostolic community in Acts 4: 32, which was so influential in monastic thought. Also from the Scriptures came the model friendship of David and Jonathan and the teaching of Christ that the disciples were his friends (John 15: 15). These references made it natural to think of the relationship between members of a monastic community in terms of amicitia. The supreme practitioner of this sort of friendship was Aelred of Rievaulx, who said that as he moved through his monastery he felt himself in paradise, bound to all his brethren by bonds of friendship. Particularly notable were his treatises The Mirror of Charity (c. 1143) and Spiritual Friendship (completed 1165), and a long letter on Christian friendship from Bernard of Clairvaux to William of St Thierry. The concept of amicitia makes it clear that the pursuit of the apostolic life was intended to create a community within which true personal relations could flourish.
Amicitia also had another important feature. It operated over a distance. Much of the writing about it is to be found in the letter collections which were assiduously assembled at the time, including those of Anselm of Canterbury, Hildebert of Lavardin, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Peter of Blois. One could make a 'treaty' of friendship with a distant colleague, and a letter from a friend would
19 Aelred, Speculum Caritatis, i. 34 (col. 543BC).
20 Cicero, De Amicitia, vi. 20, ed. W. A. Falconer ( London, 1923), p. 130.
be highly valued as a token of esteem whose cost in parchment, composition, and transport made it a handsome present. These friendship networks were one of the ways in which scholars, administrators, and monks, the directing powers in the contemporary church, were able to keep in contact, and they immensely increased their political effectiveness. The policies of Gregory VII and Urban II were disseminated through such connections, and in 1130 and 1131 the north of Europe was won for Innocent II by their use. The methods of friendship overlapped those of diplomacy, which operated by sending a letter with a suitable bearer, and as is shown by Odo of Ostia (Urban II) on his visit to Germany in 1085 a representative might build up personal links of lasting importance. Friendship, in the reality of the time, was at once an emotional satisfaction, a manifestation of the apostolic life, and a mode of political action.
iv. Sin and Redemption.
The new-found respect for man was also shown by the shaping of the penitential system into a more humane form. The eleventh century had inherited an external discipline. Penance was primarily a public exercise designed for the correction of major sins, and bishops relied on lists such as the Corrector of Burchard of Worms, specifying a 'tariff' of penances suited to the offence and circumstances. The penances imposed on the warriors of William the Conqueror in 1067 to atone for the men they had killed or wounded are a proof that these ideas were still in force. Monastic tradition was, however, well aware of the distinction between inner sorrow and the performance of penitential actions, and this was increasingly taught to the laity. An important, perhaps decisive, moment was the preaching of the First Crusade in 1095, when Pope Urban dispensed participants from all penances, provided they went for devotion alone and made a full confession of their sins. 21 The legislation of the Carolingian period had urged the faithful to confess to their local priests, and this teaching was now renewed. We do not know how common regular confession was before the Fourth Lateran Council imposed it as an annual obligation. A reference at Acre in Syria suggests that
21 Urban, letter to Bologna, Sept. 1096, H. Hagenmeyer, Die Kreuzzugsbriefe aus den Jahren 1088-1100 ( Innsbruck, 1901), no. 3; R. Somerville, Decreta Claromontensia ( Amsterdam, 1972), 74.
confession in Holy Week was usual there in the second half of the century, but Hugh of St Victor had earlier suggested that the laity were inclined to argue about it. The stress on personal repentance seems to have preceded the general adoption of the confessional, but it rapidly came to be seen as the vital element in forgiveness, just as consent had become the essential cause of marriage: 'sin is remitted by contrition of heart'. 22
This change had wider implications than may be immediately apparent. It coincided with the conviction that in ethics what mattered was the intention. This was a sharp alteration in the assessment of human actions, for previous generations had been remarkably insensitive to motive. The long-established Benedictine practice of oblation, by which children were dedicated to a monastery by their parents, was a powerful witness against the significance of personal decision, and it is startling to modern understanding to discover that these boys were often supposed to make the best monks. The new emphasis on intention was commonly expressed in the school of Laon, and Guibert of Nogent saw the assessment of intention as a major concern of the historian and a key issue in preaching. 23 Abelard presented quite an extreme statement of the position in his book, significantly entitled Ethics, or Know Yourself, and Heloïse observed that 'an offence lies not in the consequence for the sufferer but in the intention of the actor. 24 The concern with motive was fundamental to the spiritual theology of the Cistercians. They saw the whole devotional life as a progress in motivation, a change from loving God for our own sake to loving ourselves for the sake of God: 'O holy and chaste love, O sweet and gentle affection, O pure and undefiled intention of the will . . . To be thus disposed is to be united with God.' 25 This strong concern with inner dispositions lies behind the revival of interest in psychology, which at first took the form of a close analysis of what were called the 'affections'. An early instance was Anselm of Canterbury, whom Guibert of Nogent heard teaching on the subject. There followed some important studies by the Cistercians, notably William of St Thierry's The Nature and Dignity of Love
22 A. M. Gietl (ed.), Die Sentenzen Rolands ( Freiburg, 1891), 249. Hugh of St Victor, De Sacramentis, ii. 14. 1 (PL 176.549D), reported that people, when urged to confess, used to dernand 'give your authority'.
23 For Guibert's views see PL 156.21B and 27B.
24 Héloïse, ep. ii. 5, PL 178. 186A.
25 Bernard of Clairvaux, De diligendo Deo, x. 28 (Opera iii. 143: sic affici, deificari est ).
(c. 1120) and The Nature of Body and Soul (c. 1135) and Ælred of Rievaulx Mirror of Charity (c. 1143) and The Soul (c. 1165).
These new interests were associated with a change in the character of the theology of the atonement. In many writers the emphasis is on the change of human affections: the work of Christ was a lesson in humility and, above all, an appeal to love. Here the writings of spiritual theologians were akin to the changes in popular worship, such as the greater prominence of the crucifix and the portrayal in it of the sufferings of Christ. In one of his sermons, Bernard presented a theory of the atonement as an appeal by God to mankind, in which he tried first threats, then the offer of eternal life, but all in vain.
Seeing it was no use, God said, 'There is just one thing left. Within man there is not only fear and greed, but also love, and nothing motivates him as strongly as that.' And so He came in flesh and showed himself so lovable, and extended to us that love than which no man has greater; for He gave up His life for us.
The thought is close to that of Abelard: 'our redemption is that great love awoken in us by the passion of Christ.' 26
It would, however, be wrong to conclude that this concern for the individual and subjective had abolished any idea that the atonement had objective implications for humanity. In Abelard, indeed, it may have done so, but William of St Thierry attacked him on the point and asserted that one must recognize in Christ the 'mystery of redemption' as well as the lesson in humility and love. The most famous contribution to atonement theology in the period, moreover, is thoroughly objective in character. In his Cur Deus Homo Anselm of Canterbury rejected the prevalent theory that man, having sinned, was subject to the rights of the devil, and that his liberty had to be 'redeemed' or bought back. Anselm was brisk in his dismissal of this time-honoured view, and in its stead he argued that God's honour had been gravely disparaged by man's sin. It would be contrary to justice for this to be merely disregarded, but tragically man could no longer offer to God an atoning sacrifice. The problem was solved by God's love, for he came himself as man to offer the satisfaction which justice demanded. It was a literal rendering of the words of St Paul, 'God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself' (2 Cor. 5: 19). The theory is different from much twelfth-century thinking,
26 Bernard, Sermo 29 de Diversis, 2-3 (Opera vi. 211-2); Abelard, Commentary on Romans, PL 178.836B.
and whatever its later importance its immediate impact was limited -- Bernard, for example, continued to accept the 'rights of the devil' theory. But although Anselm's work was distinctive, it has many features of the period around 1100. It rests wholly upon the passion, the resurrection having little place within it. It sees Christ essentially in human terms, his sacrifice being an offering from man to God, and it takes the assumptions of 'tariff' penance (that God has to be repaid as a condition of forgiveness) and uses them to account for the reconciliation of mankind with God in Christ.
In the twelfth century the sacraments were for the first time identified as a distinct field of study. Hugh of St Victor's De Sacramentis was an early attempt to see them as a whole, and it was a feature of the school of Abelard to divide the study of doctrine into faith, charity, and sacraments. The eucharist was normally regarded as the greatest of the sacraments, as baptism would have been in the patristic age, and our period began with the controversy associated with Berengar of Tours over the nature of Christ's presence in the bread and wine. It was a development of a difference of emphasis in Carolingian theology between Paschasius and Ratramnus, but it contained some features which were important for the future. One was the wide public interest in the affair, on which several of the participants commented. Another was the action of the popes in a series of councils in support of a very simple assertion of the physical presence of Christ. At Rome in 1059 Berengar was forced to read a statement affirming that the bread and the wine which are placed on the altar are not only a sacrament after consecration, but the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and physically (sensualiter) not only in sacrament but in truth are touched and broken by the hands of the priest and ground by the teeth of the faithful. 27
The episode is curious. It is an early date to find the Roman Church acting as the policeman of general orthodoxy, and the crude statement does not correspond with the views which Lanfranc had been arguing. Both features clearly belong to the context of reforming thought among the leaders at Rome, with their passionate emphasis on the need for cultic purity in the priesthood whose task it was to handle the body and blood of Christ, and Cardinal Humbert may have been responsible for the immoderate draft of the
27 The document is translated in full in A. J. Macdonald, Berengar ( London, 1930), 130-1.
statement. The argument also saw the introduction of a new technical terminology. The use of the word 'substance' and its cognates was not totally new, but previous instances were rare and untechnical. Now the terms were employed by Berengar himself and one of his opponents, Guitmund of Aversa, and in a more moderate formula which Berengar accepted in 1079: the bread and wine which are placed on the altar, through the mystery of the consecrating prayer and the words of our Redeemer, are converted sustantially into the true body and proper life-giving flesh and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord'. 28
By the 1140s we find M. Roland and Stephen of Autun using the word 'transubstantiation'. 29 It would be wrong, however, to think that the main concern of twelfth-century theologians was to establish the correct terms for defining the mode of Christ's presence. Their concern was more precisely to understand the way in which the eucharist offers salvation to the faithful. The relatively crude approach of Berengar's opponents was refined by Anselm of Laon and Hugh of St Victor, who thought in terms of an encounter between Christ and the individual communicant, one which could quite effectively take the form of the new practice of 'mystical communion'. Later in the twelfth century a wide range of writers, including Peter Lombard, moved to a new approach: the eucharist expresses the unity of the church in faith and love. In a sense, this was a revival of an old patristic understanding, but it was characteristic of the period to give it a new, more juridical form. As one writer depressingly remarked, 'sacramental reception is necessary at least once a year because it unites the church, remits sin, and defends against sin'. Underlying these theologies was the view (which dominated popular piety) that the eucharistic body was no other than the historical body of Jesus. It was this which underlay the anger that it should be handled by impure priests, and the desire to see the consecrated elements at a time when communion was infrequent. The elevation of the host in the later sense was introduced in the thirteenth century, but before that the elements had been held up to the people, probably during the actual words of
28 Macdonald, Berengar, 192.
29 A. M. Gietl, Die Sentenzen Rolands ( Freiburg, 1891), 231; Stephen of Autun, De Sacramento Altaris, 13-14 (PL 172. 1291-3), in the form of the verb transsubstantiare. The attribution of the term to Peter Damian, which is sometimes found, rests on a false ascription.
consecration, and there are reports of miracles in which the celebrant was seen to be holding a child in his hands.
The formation of a coherent list of sacraments did not at first seem a hopeful undertaking. Baptism, communion, penance, confirmation, ordination, marriage, and extreme unction are so divergent in character that their inclusion on a common basis may appear a triumph of system over sense. There was originally no agreed list, but the Sentences of Divinity about 1145 brought together the seven which were subsequently adopted by Peter Lombard and became standard. The process was an example of the determination of scholars to reduce awkward phenomena to order, but there was more to it than that. The definition of the seven sacraments was a recognition that the grace of God attends mankind from cradle to grave, from baptism to unction. Divine grace stood at the entry to each order, lay or clerical, married or ordained. There was also an attempt to establish the basis of authority on which the sacraments rested. Some writers were content to ascribe different sacraments to different sources, as Hugh of St Victor did, but in others each was ascribed to a specific act of foundation by Christ. Similarly there was a growth in interest in the so-called ordinals of Christ in which each order (major or minor) was established by a word or work of Jesus. This concern was characteristic of another feature of twelfth century theology: it was profoundly Christ-centred, and its image of Christ was that of the historical Jesus, as he was perceived in a pre-critical age.
Devotion to the crucified humanity of Christ was prominent in monastic spirituality in the twelfth century, and particularly in circles with hermit connections; we find it in Peter Damian, in Anselm of Canterbury, and in its most fully developed form in the Cistercians. The adoration of the wounds of Christ figured prominently in the meditation of Anselm of 1ci on the Passion, and reflection on the five wounds occurs several times in the devotions of Peter Damian: 'Lord, by the five wounds of your most holy body you have healed all the wounds which were inflicted on us by the five senses of our body.' 30 The same type of meditation may be found in Bernard of Clairvaux, and in the Cistercian writers as a whole the growth of an affective relationship between the believer and Christ was prominent, as in Ælred's attractive book, When Jesus was Twelve Years Old. The Cistercians appear deliberately to have promoted the
30 Peter Damian, prayer for Good Friday, PL 145. 927-8.
devotion to the crucified humanity as an appropriate path for simple Christians to follow, and in doing so they made a rather startling adjustment to Biblical teaching. For St Paul, the great division lay between the unbeliever and the converted: 'to know Christ after the flesh' (2 Cor. 5: 16) meant to think of him in a worldly way, as Paul had done in his days of unbelief. William of St Thierry and others seized on the phrase to describe the condition of the beginner in the monastic life. The monk was intended to go further, progressing on the path of meditation and purification to union with the Eternal Word, but this teaching of a highly interior spirituality was not designed for the laity, and probably not for the conversi within the monastery.
There is at this point an unmistakable link between the learned and the popular worlds. The devotion to the historical Jesus was spreading among the faithful as a whole in such forms as reverence for his body in the eucharist, a growing attachment to the cult of his mother the Blessed Virgin (on which more will be said in a later chapter), pilgrimage to the relics of the apostles, and devotions before the crucifix. It is hard to be sure how the connection was made between the monastic and popular forms of this quest for the historical Jesus. In part, there was a time-lag. Many of the devotional practices of the late Middle Ages were introduced under the influence of the Franciscans, who thus popularized the spirituality which they had learned in religious circles. But that is not the whole story. Obscure as is the evolution of popular worship in the twelfth century, there was unquestionably a growing use of the crucifix and reverence for Mary and for Christ's sacramental body. Crusaders were certainly inspired by a desire to associate themselves with the suffering of their Lord, to walk in his path and visit his sepulchre, and to follow him as their personal master, and veneration of the five wounds can be found in crusading circles: as early as the First Crusade Peter Bartholomew, the protagonist in the affair of the holy lance, had a vision of the five wounds of Christ. Indeed, we must not exclude the possibility of the influence of lay devotions upon monasteries: the Cistercians and other new orders were recruited from those who had grown up in the world, and it may be that the starting-point of the Cistercian pilgrimage (Christ according to the flesh) was precisely the piety of the lay aristocracy, with their love of the Saviour as their personal Lord in an almost feudal sense.
Whatever the truth is about the relationship of monastic and lay piety, we cannot escape the presence in twelfth-century society of the desire to be close to the historical Jesus. It was expressed in the reverence for the body of Christ in the eucharist, and hence in the demand for a priesthood which would celebrate it worthily; and in the decoration of churches. It lay behind the crusading movement, with its desire to be where the Lord once walked. Radical reformers could find in the teaching of Christ and in the New Testament as a whole a witness to a way of life opposed to the established order of society. Here again there was a link between the learned and popular worlds: new hermits, Catharists, Waldensians, and satirists saw the poverty of Christ as calling into question the splendours of a triumphalist church. To some authors the recovery of the values of the ministry of Jesus indicated the dawn of a new historical period; to others, the gap seemed so wide that it presaged the end of the world and the return of Christ.
v. The World to Come
The character of a society is determined as much by its expectation of the future as by its past. In this period conservative thinkers anticipated no transformation of the world order, for the process of history had essentially completed its course. St Augustine had largely drawn the sting of eschatological expectation. He saw humanity as living in the sixth age of history which would stretch from Christ to the end, and no new age was due, only the appearance of Antichrist to bring the historical process to its conclusion. The New Testament had spoken of a thousand years during which Satan would be bound and the martyrs would reign with Christ (Rev. 20: 2-4), but Augustine interpreted this as the present age in which the church serves and worships God. The great majority of thinkers in our period adhered to the Augustinian scheme and assigned a very short timetable to the whole history of creation. Since they believed that the world was only about five thousand years old, it was common sense, not eccentricity, which suggested that the end of the world would not be long delayed. It was none the less unusual to suppose that it was an immediate prospect. It was assumed that everybody now living would die, and a prophecy produced in Matildine circles about 1085 postponed the coming of Antichrist to a distant future. 31 True, some people thought otherwise. Norbert of Xanten suggested to Bernard of Clairvaux that Antichrist would come in their
31 Rupert of Deutz, In Apocalypsim, ix. 16 (PL 169. 1126A); and C. Erdmann, "Endkaiserglaube und Kreuzzugsgedanke im 11 Jh.", Zeitschrift fur Kirchengeschichte 51 ( 1932), 384-414.
generation (although Bernard was unconvinced) and in 1147 Gerard of Poehlde calculated that less than 200 years remained. 32 But there was no authoritative teaching about the length of time left, and rarely any fever of expectation.
It was the fate of the departed to remain in the tomb until the last day. The only exceptions were saints and martyrs, who were thought to behold the face of God in heaven where their intercessions could avail for their brethren on earth. Ordinary Christians did not expect to go to heaven when they died, and did not console themselves with the thought that they would shortly be rejoining loved ones who had died before them. The state of the departed was represented by the legend of the sleepers of Ephesus, who were awoken after two or three hundred years to refute a heretic who denied the resurrection of the dead. The position was starkly expressed in a poem attributed to Hildebert of Lavardin:
Ad mortis diem veniam, --- For there is nothing I can do
Postquam nil quibo facere --- When I arrive at death's last day
Quo poenas passim fugere, --- To turn my punishment away.
Sed consumar in cinere --- I shall be turned to ash and must
Dissolvarque in pulvere. 33 --- Be finally dissolved in dust.
No room is left in these lines for purgatory or the continued life of the soul. The reality to which death is the gate is the final judgement, for until then the individual soul will be asleep or kept in cold storage, refrigerium.
Although Augustine had no expectation of a perfect life on earth as a result of a historical change, he did think that in this present age the faithful could participate by foretaste in the heavenly experience. In his language, we can in the sixth day enter by anticipation into the joys of the seventh. Monastic tradition sought to make this possible by contemplation, and it underlay the devotion to the heavenly Jerusalem which developed rapidly in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The character of this devotion is reflected in its hymns. There was only one of major importance before 1050, Urbs beata Jerusalem, which pictured Jerusalem 'coming down out of heaven from God' (Rev. 21: 2). 34 From 1050 Jerusalem-hymns strike a
32 Bernard, ep.56 (PL 182. 162); B. McGinn, Visions of the End ( New York, 1979), 113-14.
33 Hildebert, Lamentatio (PL 171. 1339-40).
34 F. J. E. Raby (ed.), The Oxford Book of Medieval Latin Verse ( Oxford 1959), no. 63. The well-known English version by J. M. Neale ( English Hymnal, no. 169) must be read with care, as the translator was unclear whether the heavenly city was going up or down. The original is not ambiguous.
different note. It is we who are going to Jerusalem, not the city which comes to us, and it is a long way from our present discontents. In his Hymn to the Trinity Hildebert could only salute Jerusalem from afar, de longinquo, and Peter Abelard produced the classic descr+?ption of pilgrim humanity:
Nostrum est interim mentern erigere Et totis patriam votis appetere, Et ad Ierusalem a Babylonia Post longa regredi tandem exsilia.
Now in the meantime, with hearts raised on high, We for that country must yearn and must sigh, Seeking Jerusalem, our native land, Through our long exile on Babylon's strand. 35
The solidity of the membership of the heavenly city has disappeared and been replaced by a sense of distance. The contrast with the original Christian confidence is remarkable.
This sense of distance and note of longing spread in lay society too. We hear it in verse, for instance in Jaufré Rudel's 'distant love', and the search for Jerusalem is reminiscent of the quest theme so beloved in chivalric literature, while the crusades were an acting out on a prodigious scale of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The same awareness of alienation began to influence the ceremonial of death. Safety no longer seemed to lie in membership of a community; on the contrary, those who could afford it now provided special ceremonies for the salvation of themselves and their families. The change in the course of two generations can be illustrated by the prayers for two Frenchmen of royal birth. When Philip I of France died in 1108 in the great Benedictine abbey of Fleury he was clothed in a monastic habit and was commemorated within the liturgical ceremonies of the house, whereas on the death of Duke Geoffrey Plantagenet of Brittany in 1186 Philip Augustus had him buried in Notre-Dame at Paris and appointed four priests to celebrate mass in perpetuity for the departed. Earlier gifts had been made to a monastery without condition in anticipation of burial and commemoration there: now the conditions were spelled out, and a donor would give a sum 'for celebrating his anniversary'. The demand was for individualized services, for the annuale (a mass celebrated
35 A. B. Scott, Hildebertus: Carmina Minora ( Teubner, 1969), no. 55; J. Szövérffy, Hymnarius ii, p. 78; English Hymnal, no. 465.
regularly for a year after death) or the anniversary (yearly on the day of death), and the conditions were sometimes listed in full contractual detail. This desire for special commemorations reflects the growing ambition of the nobility for ceremonial outside a religious community which would bring their family prestige; it also expresses the sense that the individual must provide for his own salvation, which cannot come simply from membership of a sacred community. 36
Looked at from another point of view, this new pattern of commemoration was part of the extension of the church's control over death outside the walls of the monastery, part of that Christianization of society which we have already discerned in so many fields. The church was taking over death just as it was taking over marriage. This was happening even in terms of physical space. The old custom of burying the dead away from the habitations of the living lingered only in remote areas, as when in 1128 the bishop of Saint-Brieuc in Brittany prohibited burial at the foot of the cross at crossroads. 37 Burials now normally took place in the cemetery or churchyard. The space originally used in the court or atrium of the church rapidly became full, and it was necessary to dig up the dead regularly and store the bones in charnels, which sometimes took the form of sheds erected round the atrium. Elsewhere larger cemeteries were established and also functioned as social centres for markets, residences, and even games. The dead were kept in an intimacy with the living which would be offensive to the modern mind. The presence of the church as the major influence at the deathbed was also becoming more evident in the twelfth century, although the definition of a standard procedure involving extreme unction, absolution, and will-making was primarily the work of the synods of the thirteenth century.
The essential message was of the connection of death with judgement, since there would be no subsequent opportunity to make amends. The theme became common on the west front of cathedrals, especially in France, where the last day was no longer seen as a manifestation of Christ's glory, but as a time of judgement. At Beaulieu in the Dordogne and Conques in the Auvergne there are two early examples of a transitional imagery which includes both
36 For the evidence, see M. M. McLaughlin, "Consorting with the Saints" (unpublished Stanford University Ph.D. thesis 1985), ch. 7.
37 H. Morice, Mémoires . . . à l'histoire civile et ecclésiastique de Bretagne ( Paris, 1742), i. 559.
elements. On the great west front of Saint-Denis completed c. 1140 by Abbot Suger the theme of judgement is paramount, with Christ specifically labelled as 'Judge' and imagery drawn from the parables of the sheep and the goats (Matt. 25: 31-46) and the wise and foolish virgins (25: 1-13). The west front of Saint-Denis is reticent about the pains of hell and still gives much of the space to the heavenly session of Christ amid the angels, elders, and apostles, but the message of judgement is urgent and unavoidable. The confidence in the salvation of the whole Christian community has vanished. Only those will be saved who can make a good answer on the day of their death. This stark presentation was, however, modified by one important feature. For a long time, visions of the other world had spoken of a 'purgatorial fire' where the departed might purge their sins with a punishment which fell short of the eternity of hell. Bishop Adhemar, the papal legate who died on the First Crusade, was seen in torment for having doubted the authenticity of the Holy Lance found at Antioch; his place of punishment seems to have been hell, but he was only there for a short visit. The Paris theologians from about 1170 onwards formalized this concept into a separate place, purgatorium. The word had previously existed only as an adjective, especially in the phrase 'purgatorial fire'. The theologians may have been preceded in this concept by the Cistercians, but it was a significant change which must be considered further in a later chapter. Death, penitence, and judgement formed a nexus of motifs which originated in traditional monasticism and had now been adapted for Christians in general. Some of these ideas had entered lay circles already. One of the more refined of the new penitential concepts, the importance of a pure intention, became a commonplace in Chrétien of Troyes and other writers of romances. Another quite common theme was that of meditation on a corpse as a means of banishing the love of the flesh. Anselm recommended the practice to Gunhilda, daughter of King Harold of England, and it was used in Innocent III's famous treatise The Misery of the Human Condition. 38 This type of meditation was not necessarily as macabre as it sounds: in the German poem Von des todes gehugde meditation upon the body of the beloved includes a regretful mention of his expanded waistline, and is primarily a satire on newly fashionable courtly ideals.
This nexus of spirituality pointed the individual to his own death
38 See R. W. Southern, Saint Anselm and his Biographer ( Cambridge, 1963), 185-8.
as the key to eternal life. But what of humanity as a whole? The Fathers had laid down little about the details of the end of the world, and theologians were slow to attempt formulation. From Peter Lombard onwards an eschatological tract appeared in major theological handbooks, but the Lombard's treatment of the subject was hesitant and left several major issues to one side. There were a few indications in the New Testament which all were bound to accept. Before the last day the figure of Antichrist would appear; he was an amalgam of the 'son of perdition' in 2 Thessalonians 2 with Satan in Revelation 20 and the beast in Revelation 13. Before him there would be premonitory signs, one of which would be the final end of the authority of the Roman emperor. It was a bleak picture of human history and it gave so little information that it was of no use as a guide to action. Eschatological thinkers strove both to discover more material and to give a more meaningful role to human action in history.
There was already a legend of the last emperor, derived from Byzantium and made familiar in the west by the works of Adso of Montier-en-Der. It was foretold that he would overcome his enemies, restore Christian rule at Jerusalem, and rule in peace until the coming of Antichrist. A hope was thus extended in a framework quite different from the old millenial expectations. It was to take place before the coming of Antichrist; it was deeply conservative since it consisted in the completion of the existing order; and it rested on no Biblical authority. 'Last emperor' speculations were naturally most popular in imperial and royal circles. A Sibylline prophecy was used to encourage support for Louis VII on the Second Crusade, and Frederick Barbarossa, at whose court the Play of Antichrist was performed, may have been inspired by such ideas on the Third. In theological and monastic circles a different amendment to the Augustinian scheme was being canvassed, moved by the existence of Biblical prophecies which seemed to have no place for fulfilment within it. The Bible offered a slight foothold for this sort of speculation in a curious space of forty-five days in Daniel 12: 11-12 which could be read as offering a pause in events after the defeat of Antichrist. The ordinary gloss, Honorius Augustodunensis and Otto of Freising made various uses of this remission: it was to be for the conversion of Israel, or the conversion of the peoples, or (in line with developing ideas of penitence) an opportunity for repentance at the last. These amendments to the Augustinian scheme still left the course of Christian history looking empty, for they offered no scheme for understanding the activity of God since the resurrection and no pattern of expectation for his future action. The Paris theologians were content with this situation. Their interest in history and eschatology was slight, and they found the key to doctrine in the ordering of the statements of the Bible and the Fathers with the aid of the rules of logic. Nevertheless, this approach did not satisfy the aspirations of some of the most effective men of the time. Enthusiasts of the new monastic movement looked to God's intention to renew ( renovare, reformare ) the church to its former state, and some thinkers endeavoured to give weight to this in their view of the universe. History was taken seriously in the school of St Victor: Hugh adopted a historical approach in his De Sacramentis and insisted on a historical methodology in Biblical exegesis: 'The foundation and beginning of sacred doctrine is history . . . When you begin to build, first lay the foundation of history.' 39 The fullest development of a new approach to history and eschatology was, however, left to a number of German writers.
The most famous was one of the greatest of medieval historians, Otto bishop of Freising, a member of the imperial house, a Paris man, a Cistercian, and an imperial bishop. His Two Cities or Chronicle ( 1143-7) was a conscious reworking of the historical scheme of St Augustine, but it included some important amendments. Otto assumes that the Roman Empire will continue to the end of time, but glosses this view by pointing to the 'translation' of authority and learning which has already taken place in the successive ages of history. His interest in eschatology was keen, and he provided his history with an eighth book, a 'history of the future' dealing with the end of the world and the condition of the future life. Perhaps because of the condition of the empire when he was writing, the Two Cities is basically a pessimistic work. His later book, Gesta Friderici, showed some of the new confidence generated by Barbarossa's reign; but for a positive affirmation of the creative possibilities within human history we have to turn to some other German writers. It is perhaps exaggerated to speak of a German 'historical' school, for there are great differences between them, but they had in common a hostility to the French dialectical theology and the use of a
39 J. Taylor (tr.), The Didascalicon of Hugh of S. Victor ( New York, 1961), vi. 3, p. 138, adapted from Gregory the Great.
rich, not to say florid, symbolism in Biblical interpretation. They also showed a degree of optimism about the working out of God's plans in the historical present and future, and through the influence of monasticism they hoped for an age of improvement, if not of perfection, before the coming of Antichrist. The keynote was struck by Rupert of Deutz in his book, The Holy Trinity and His Works, completed in 1117. He believed in the thorough involvement of the Trinity in the historical process:
The work of the same Trinity is tripartite from the foundation of the world to its end. The first part is from the dawn of the first light to the fall of the first man; the second, from the first man's fall to the passion of the second man, Jesus Christ the son of God; the third, from his resurrection to the consummation of the world -- that is, the general resurrection of the dead. The first work is proper to the Father, the second to the Son, the third to the Holy Spirit. 40
The most balanced of these writers was the Premonstratensian Bishop Anselm of Havelberg, who wrote his Dialogues at the request of Pope Eugenius III about 1150. The first book, One Faith in Many Forms, was addressed to the question, 'Why are there so many novelties in the church of God? Who can count so many orders of clergy? Who does not wonder at so many kinds of monks? 41 ' He was not alone in arriving at the eirenic conclusion that the various forms of monks and canons performed a function in the divine purpose -the Liège treatise Libellus de Diversis Ordinibus had done the same -but Anselm struck a distinctively optimistic note about God's work in the world: 'first good things were planned, then better, and finally the best of all'. 42 Accordingly he subdivided the Christian era into a series of stages represented by the opening of the seven seals in the book of Revelation and arrived at a theology not of stasis, but of development. The regular canon Gerhoh of Reichersberg and the abbess and visionary Hildegard of Bingen both were gravely concerned aout the crisis through which the church was living in its conflict with the empire, but they too saw a measure of hope in a time of renewal which would be brought about by religious reform. This German tradition has until recently been underestimated as a force in the medieval church. It is not surprising that this should be so, for the Paris scholars were the forerunners of Thomas Aquinas
40 H. Haccke, (ed.), Ruperti Tuitensis de Sancta Trinitate et operibus suis, CC(CM) 21, prol., i. 26.
41 G. Salet, Anselme de Havelberg, Dialogues I, SC 118 ( 1966), prol. p. 34.
42 Salet, Dialogues I. 13, p. 116.
and the great theologians whose ideas were so long to be authoritative, whereas Rupert of Deutz and his followers pointed along a quite different line of development. Later thinkers were going to take their ideas much further.
PROPERTY, PRIVILEGE, AND LAW
Since the time of the late Roman Empire the clergy had enjoyed extensive legal privileges. One of the striking features of the period from 1050 to 1200 was a determined attempt to extend their rights and revenues, an enterprise undertaken not only by the self-seeking, but by reformers and spiritually minded men. In part this policy rested on a misunderstanding. Their expectations were shaped by the canons composed in the ninth century by pseudo-Isidore, which we know to be an imaginative statement of ecclesiastical claims but which they believed to be the law of the early church. Behind this lay the belief that Christ's work in the world was essentially the business of the clergy, and if they were to direct the ambitious programme for Christendom which we have been studying in the last few chapters, the need for resources was enormous. There had to be revenue to provide and maintain magnificent great churches and numerous local ones, and there had to be legal safeguards if the clergy were to do justice and maintain equity in a world of powerful lords. Ecclesiastical privilege was insufficient to prevent the arrest of the pope by the emperor in IIII or the murder of the archbishop of Canterbury by the king's knights in 1170, and the combined cost of the building programme, poor relief, and the maintenance of the community exhausted the impressive revenues of Cluny in the 1120s. Even the radically minded Gerhoh of Reichersberg admitted that he was worried about a policy of unilateral disarmament; as he put it, if the church too readily took off its purple robe (of imperial majesty) it might also lose its white robe (of priestly dignity). 1 It was only a short distance to a further idea, namely that Christ was honoured when honour was shown to his ministers; triumphalism, which valued the worldly glory of the churches, was never far from the medieval mind. The abundant revenues, the legal protection, and the authority of canon law all appeared to popes and bishops as a divine gift and not as the arrogant claim of a privileged corporation.
1 Gerhoh, De Novitatibus huius Temporis (MGH LdL iii.297).
i. Ownership and Distribution
In 1200 something like one-fifth of the land in western Europe was in the hands of ecclesiastical institutions, who also had the right of receiving tithes, in effect a tax of 10 per cent on all incomes. In addition there were other smaller, but considerable, sources of income. By any comparison with the patristic or modern situation it must at once seem that the medieval church was absurdly overendowed, but the reality was not altogether favourable. If the income was large, so were the expectations: the cost of the cathedrals was always (and not only in the twentieth century) a financial headache. Moreover, the resources were maldistributed. Some dioceses and parishes were much richer than others, and the inequality was often not related to pastoral responsibilities. The diocese of Lincoln, stretching from the Humber to the Thames, retained throughout the Middle Ages the absurd dimensions resulting from the collapse of two bishoprics which had not been restored after the Danish invasions. The expansion of the authority of the Roman Church was not accompanied by a proportional growth in its revenue, and its attempts to improvise resources for itself were to become a major source of dissension and scandal. Bishoprics as a rule were well endowed with estates, but they relied to a great extent on lands for which secular service had to be performed, and this left its imprint on their character. The princebishop was not (or not only) produced by original sin, but by the structure of ecclesiastical property. The income of cathedral and collegiate churches was divided among the canons into individual stipends. Land, and to a still greater extent tithe, had been appropriated by lay lords and was not in practice available to the clergy. It is tempting to speculate on what might have been achieved if this vast income had been available for allocation according to pastoral and charitable need, but in fact ecclesiastical revenue did not exist as a coherent whole; it is merely a term for the sum of the income of institutions and individuals.
Contemporaries were aware of the situation. At the council of Rome in 1078 Gregory VII decreed that the bishops should be in charge of the administration of revenues. The measure applied to tithe, but the policy was capable of extension to other income:
Canonical authority demonstrates that tithes were provided for religious purposes, and by apostolic authority we forbid their possession by laymen. Whether they have received them from bishops or from kings or frormsomebody else, if they do not return them to the church they are to know that they are committing the crime of sacrilege and stand in danger of eternal damnation. . .We decree that these tithes should be at the bishop's disposal, so that he who presides over others may distribute them justly to all. He is not to show special favour to anyone by which others might feel aggrieved, but everything shall be held in common, because it would appear wrong for some priests to be wealthy and others to be at a disadvantage. As there is one catholic faith, so it is necessary that the one who is charged with making provision in a locality, even if there are many churches, shall make distribution faithfully to all. 2
Gratian discussed the whole question of ecclesiastical property in one of his most interesting sections, Causa XII, in which he gave a general application to Gregory's principles. With a multitude of authorities he demonstrated that 'the common life should be observed by all clergy'. The property of the church was at the disposal of the bishops, who should allocate resources to those living the common life according to their need. Clergy should not retain their personal property after ordination, and if they did they were unworthy of the name of clerk. The division of the common fund of a church into separate prebends was improper. 3 Gratian's position was both radical and rational, but it was a blueprint which had little basis in past or present practice. The most persuasive texts which he deployed were inauthentic, and a large proportion of revenue was in fact divided among individual clergy as prebends or benefices. Gratian half-heartedly admitted that there were circumstances in which prebends may be allocated, but it is clear that we are in the presence of two different ideas of ownership. The radical policy of Gregory and Gratian demanded a redistribution of resources which would have altered the history of the medieval church, but which was never put into effect.
According to contemporary thinking, God had made provision for the upkeep of the clergy by the institution of tithes. The Old
2 Greg. VII, Reg. VI.5b (404-5) = Gratian, Decr. C. XVI, q. 7 C. 1 (800). The second half of the quotation is not in the Register, nor in the collections of Ivo or Anselm; it is not clear whether it comes from a fuller version of the canons or is a later gloss.
3 Gratian, Decr. C. XII q. 1, c. 2, 16 and post c. 25 (676, 682-3, 686).
Testament recorded the divine command to pay one-tenth of the produce of the land for the use of priests and Levites, and Alexander III held payment to be compulsory 'since tithes were instituted not by man but by God himself'. 4 The major problem facing ecclesiastical authority was not so much refusal to pay tithe as the fact that the right to receive it had fallen into the hands of the lay aristocracy, and Gregory VII's decree in 1078 was directed to its recovery. This remained the papal policy on tithes for a long time, and in particular lay ownership of tithes continued to be condemned. Gratian preserved a text denouncing as heretics and antichrists those bishops who simoniacally granted tithes to laymen; the council of Reims in 1148 echoed Gregory's decree and asserted that laymen holding tithes were guilty of sacrilege; and in 1151 the court of the commune of Genoa accepted that the possession of tithes by laymen was 'contrary to the sacred canons and the ordinances of the Holy See'. 5 As in the case of lay ownership of churches, with which the claim to tithe was closely connected, this pressure produced a significant movement of tithe from lay to ecclesiastical possession. At Ferrara there was a massive transfer of churches and tithe in the pontificate of Paschal II, and at Liége, where the process has been studied over a number of centuries, the retrocession of tithes seems to have begun after the Concordat of Worms. In France it had started earlier, from about 1040† for example at Le Mans, where there was a further boost given to lay generosity by the visit of Urban II in 1096. The success of the restitution programme must not be exaggerated. A great deal of tithe was recovered by purchase rather than by pious surrender and there was even a worry that the repurchase of tithe, which was a spiritual revenue, might be regarded as simony. Moreover, a great deal of tithe remained in lay hands. When about 1143 Archbishop Siro of Genoa prepared an inventory of the revenues of his see (the only almost complete list of tithes which survives from the period), the parish churches mostly held a quarter of the tithes, but much of the rest belonged to laymen. 6 There was also a counter-current carrying tithes from churchmen to laymen. It was in the' time of Alexander III that the compromise with reality began. The Third Lateran Council prohibited 'laymen who hold tithes at the peril of
4 Greg, IX, Decretals, III.30.14 (561); see Paschal II in Gratian Decr. C. XVI, q. 1, c. 47 (775).
5 Gratian, Decr. C. XVI, q. 7, c. 3 (801); C. of Reims can. 8 (Mansi xxi-716); C. E. Boyd, Tithes and Parishes in Medieval Italy ( Ithaca, 1952), 131.
6 Boyd, Tithes and Parishes, 134-5.
their souls from transferring them to other laymen in any way. If anyone receives them and does not return them to the church he shall be deprived of Christian burial.' 7 This can hardly be said to be favourable to lay proprietors, but it conceded that they had legal security by prohibiting not the ownership, but the transfer, of tithes. Innocent III followed this implied precedent and recognized the tenure of tithes held by laymen before 1179, the decimatio antiqua. 8
The attack on lay tenure of tithes, although maintained for a century, thus ended in a compromise which in defiance of their spiritual character left a large part of the revenue at the disposal of the lay nobility. The claim that tithes should be controlled by the bishop was never pursued with the same determination, for it encountered two difficulties in canon law. One was the provision, already formulated in the Carolingian period, that tithes should be paid at the baptismal church, an idea much more realistic in large dioceses than the 1078 rule that they should be distributed by the bishop. Gratian noted that there were two different regulations and, in spite of the importance which he ascribed to the episcopal control of revenue, he supported the right of baptismal churches, holding that tithes were due to the parish church where the payer resided. The idea of episcopal distribution left its mark only in Italy, where there was a widespread custom that the baptismal church received its quartese, a quarter of the tithes, while the other three-quarters was at the bishop's disposal. Even so, the bishops in practice found it difficult to recover their portion of the tithe from lay holders. The prerogative of the bishop survived generally in canon law in the weakened form of a right of consent before tithe could be transferred from a parish to any other ecclesiastical institution, and especially to a monastery. 9
As in the case of the restitution of parish churches, the tithes returning to ecclesiastical ownership were mostly granted to monasteries. Various claims were made on the monks' behalf. that they were entitled to the tithe which they had been granted, or to receive it on behalf of the parish churches which they had received, or again to be exempt from the payment of tithe on their own lands. At the same time Cistercians and regular canons denied the right of monasteries to receive tithe, since they should not be exercising a
7 Greg. IX, Decretals, III.30.19 (562).
8 Greg. IX, Decretals, III.30.25 and III.10.7 (564, 504).
9 Gratian, Decr. C. XVI, q. 1, part VI (778).
pastoral office. Not surprisingly, papal policy fluctuated in face of these varying pressures. Alexander III admitted that 'we would not wish to hide from you that our predecessors of holy memory conceded to almost all religious the tithes of their labours', but recorded that Hadrian IV had restricted this privilege. 10
The result of the failure of the policy of Gregory VII and Gratian was therefore to continue the dissipation of tithe income into a multitude of property rights held by particular parishes, monasteries, cathedrals and lay interests. The popes nevertheless strove to maintain the productivity of tithe, and issued a series of decrees designed to extend it. Tithe must be paid before deducting such expenses as the wages of labourers. Tithes ( novales ) must be levied on land newly brought into cultivation, and new developments were matched by a requirement to pay an appropriate tithe, for example on the profit of windmills, an invention of the late twelfth century. The principle was firmly announced by Celestine III ( 1191-8): 'the faithful man is obliged to pay tithes on everything which he can acquire lawfully.' 11
iii. The Structure of Ecclesiastical Property It would be interesting to know how much income the churches received from their landed endowments, but no such information is available for the twelfth century. With the major exception of Domesday Book in England in 1086, no survey was prepared of sufficient scope and exactitude to give us the figures we require. Apart from the lack of the administrative skill needed for such elaborate exercises, there was a further difficulty: church property in this century fluctuated greatly in extent and assumed many divergent forms. A recent examination of papal confirmation charters to the churches of northern France has revealed that different institutions had wholly different attitudes to the type of rights which they wished to include in a list of their possessions; there was no uniform concept of ecclesiastical property which could be applied on a standard basis to bishoprics, cathedrals, and old and new monasteries. 12 In spite of these difficulties, David Herlihy has found an
10 Gratian, Decr. C. XVI, q. 7, c. 2 (800). This is a palea or insertion, and the interpolator clearly intended it to apply to tithes as well as to other rights.
11 Greg. IX, Decretals, III.30.13 and 21-3, 26, 28, 30, 33 (559-68).
12 D. Lohrmann, Kirchengut im nördlichen Frankreich ( Bonn, 1983).
ingenious way of estimating the extent of ecclesiastical holdings as a proportion of cultivated land. The custom of defining an estate by mentioning the contiguous landowners allows us to observe what proportion of the latter were ecclesiastical institutions. 13 The picture which emerges is that the high point of church ownership of land was in the ninth century, when one-third of land was in ecclesiastical hands, and that thereafter the proportion steadily diminished. The beginning of the process no doubt was connected with the disorders of the post-Carolingian period, but it is striking that the proportionate decline continued. In the twelfth century ecclesiastical institutions appear as owners of 16 per cent of settled land in Italy, 32 per cent in northern France, and 13 per cent in southern France, where there was a large drop from the eleventh century (31 per cent). These figures do not provide precise information, because an estate held from a church by a lay tenant can be defined by its neighbours variously as belonging to the church or the laymen. But this uncertainty is itself of interest since the description reflects the way in which contemporaries perceived the balance of interest in the estate. It is probable that the declining proportion of clerical property reflects the creation of more solidly based noble and knightly families which gave their neighbours confidence in their permanence. Even so, the presence of the church as a landowner remains i·pressive. In England, Domesday Book (in spite of considerable technical problems in its interpretation) brings us closer to a grasp of the revenue from church lands. In 1066 the monastic lands were valued at about a sixth of the total valuation of the whole country. The archbishop of Canterbury was the greatest landowner in the kingdom with a landed income of some £1,150. The bishopric of Winchester received about £920, Lincoln £660, and Chichester, one of the poorer dioceses, £142. For purposes of comparison, there were about a hundred landowners with an income of over £100.
Even if we could define the boundaries of ecclesiastical estates with great precision it would not mean very much, because church land, like charity, covers a multitude of sins. Domesday Book sometimes made a sharp distinction between land reserved for the maintenance of the monks ( dominium, ad victum monachorum or ad vestitum monachorum ) and land used for knights ( terra militaris ). This is relatively clear, but there were many ambiguous situations. Abbeys
13 D. Herlihy, "Church Property on the European Continent 701-1200", Speculum 36( 1961), 81-105.
were sometimes reluctantly obliged to place a knight on what legally was dominium. On other occasions they might lose control of a piece of property which was formally theirs, but where the bailiff had made himself hereditary or secured possession for an invariable rent. This grey area was specially important in France, where very large estates belonging to the older monasteries had effectively been taken over by their lay advocates. With the growth of the seigneurial system, lords in any case did not derive their revenue directly from agriculture so much as from haute justice or monopolies on mill and oven, salt and wine; it was lordship, not ownership, that mattered. At the same time cathedral chapters such as Notre-Dame, Paris, grew rich on house rents and market tolls. The churches were inescapably involved in all the complexities of feudal tenure and commercial finance.
In the middle of the eleventh century gloomy views were expressed about the condition of ecclesiastical revenues. The preface to the decrees of the Council of Pavia in 1022 lamented the impoverishment of the church, which had been so well endowed in the past by pious kings and emperors. 14 The problem, as the papal reformers perceived it, was not precisely that the churches had been deprived of estates, although that had certainly happened, but rather that revenues intended for common use had been appropriated by both clergy and laity, and a campaign was launched, parallel to those for the restitution of local churches and tithes, to recover ecclesiastical estates. In 1056 the synod of Toulouse, held under the presidency of a papal legate, revived an ancient concept when it said that res ecclesiastice were not to be detained by laymen. These were defined as 'the office of abbot over monks or archdeacon over clerks, or a provostship or the honour of a priest, a sacrist or schoolmaster, or any honours pertaining to the aforesaid right'. 15 Res ecclesiastice remained an important concept until about 1160, when canonists began to formulate the concept of spiritualia. Even as late as this, it was uncertain to what extent the lands of the church were appendages of the office, and Gregorian legislation in particular was so concerned about the avoidance of simony and misuse of res ecclesiastice that they said less about the defence of church lands than did the earlier Peace of God synods.
14 MGH Legum IV. Const. I.72, no. 34. The complaint was particularly about the appropriation of the revenues of the church by the families of clergy.
15 Toulouse can. 8 (Mansi xix. 848).
Nevertheless, the restoration of the episcopal estates was one of the duties of a reforming bishop. Gregory VII, writing in 1074 about the vacant see of Fermo, stressed the need 'to recover and put in due order those properties of the church which have been dispersed and put into confusion'. The Gregorian model bishops of central Italy, Peter of Anagni, Berard of Marses, and Bruno of Segni, were actively engaged in restoring the bishop's rights, the episcopium, in reorganizing estates, building mills, and repopulating deserted castra. 16 One bishop notable for his struggle for episcopal rights was Hugh of Grenoble ( 1078-1132), patron of monastic reform and friend of the Carthusians. He found that the episcopal estates had largely fallen into the grip of the powerful Albon family, and after a series of fierce conflicts accepted a compromise by which some were recovered and others allowed to stand as fiefs held by lay tenants. A significant feature of Bishop Hugh's policy was the importance which he attached to providing a written record in the form of an elaborate cartulary. He also made inventories of the income of the see--a form of record which, as far as our evidence goes, was still very rare.
Another instructive example is the diocese of Lucca, which had a series of outstanding bishops from 1056 onwards in Anselm I (Pope Alexander II), the canonist Anselm II, and Rangerius, and which benefited from the patronage of Countess Matilda. The new lordship which emerged was quite different from the old. The episcopal estates in the neighbourhood of the city had been conceded by formal grant or livello to noble families, and were almost irrecoverable. Episcopal rights within the city were largely transferred to the churches there, especially San Martino, the cathedral. The new structure was b?+?sed mainly on groups of local lordships some way from Lucca, for example around Montecatini and in the Val di Serchio, and the bishop may have been assisted by the commune in building up these castelli, since they defended the regional frontiers. This history of the episcopal lands was probably repeated in other Italian cities, and it represents a pattern of development in which the secular power of the bishop had become subordinate to the commune, for he did not hold large rights within the city, which was the real centre of authority, but was allowed to build up his estates on the periphery where they were useful to the government.
16 Greg. VII. Reg. ii.38 (174); P. Toubert, Les structures du Latium médiéval ( Rome, 1973), 807 ff.
It must be remembered that the secular importance of the bishop extended further than the area of his estates. In England the bishop of Durham held 'palatine' powers, and in northern France the dioceses of Reims, Beauvais, Noyon, Langres, and Le Puy, among others, held counties and several bishops had the right of coinage. The clearest signs of the development of 'prince-bishops' were to be found in southern France before the Albigensian Crusade and in Germany. The bishops of Agde, Lodéve and Béziers were all energetically advancing their secular authority in the later years of the century, and in 1188 the bishop of Lodéve bought from the vicomte the lordship of the whole diocese for 40,000 sous. In Germany, bishoprics had been handsomely endowed by the emperors with revenues and counties before 1050. Even the most energetic rulers continued this close commitment, because some bishoprics were the only basis for royal influence in their region. Thus by the time of Frederick Barbarossa ( 1152-90) there was little royal land in Lotharingia, and ducal authority had largely collapsed after the death of Godfrey le Bossu in 1076. In 1081 Bishop Henry of Liége issued a peace for his diocese which was regarded as an exercise of delegated royal authority. When in 1144-5 Bishop Henry II reissued the peace, he did so on the specific ground that there was no other authority to maintain order. By the late twelfth century the bishop had in effect become the duke within his diocese. The bishops of Liége were mostly faithful to their traditional loyalty to the emperor, but they were territorial princes with a very large revenue and a thousand knights to protect their interests. 17 Similarly in 1157 Frederick I issued at Arbois a bull to Archbishop Heraclius of Lyon, which granted, in confirmation probably of an existing situation, 'all regalian rights throughout his whole archbishopric on this side of the Saône . . . over counties, courts, combats, markets and mints'. 18
One change in episcopal estates which took place almost universally was the separation of the lands of the bishop and chapter. The cathedral canons had originated as a group of clergy resident in the bishop's household and supported from his estates, and even in 1050 in many parts of Europe there was no clear separation between the lands of the cathedral and those reserved for the bishop's own use. Between 1050 and 1200 there was a general tendency to divide the
17 For references, see J-L. Kupper, Liége et l'église impériale ( Paris, 1981), pt. 4.
18 Cited H. J. Légier, "L'église et l'économie médiévale: la monnaie ecclésiastique de Lyon", Annales 12 ( 1957), 564 n.
chapter property from that of the bishop and also to separate the chapter estates into individual holdings or prebends. These processes took place at different times and were subject to reversals and exceptions. During the revival of diocesan life in eastern Germany after the Concordat of Worms the communities of canons remained under strict episcopal control, while in England monastic cathedrals such as Canterbury and Winchester were controlling their own estates by about 1135 but were never divided into prebends. One major influence on the development of the chapters was the bishops' increasing need for legal advisers and administrators. Towards the end of the twelfth century the chapters were ceasing to be a body serving the liturgical needs of a great church and were becoming a resource to reward the officers of the diocese. The common life in church, refectory, and dormitory was progressively abandoned, at first in those cathedrals which had always allowed private property, and then in those served by regular canons, and the bishop's estates were clearly and finally separated from those of the cathedral church all over Europe.
iv. Clerical Privilege
'Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm' (Ps. 105: 15). Long before the twelfth century it had been established in canon law that it was an act of sacrilege to assault, murder or rob a clerk. This reflected the conviction that unholy hands should not misuse the servants of God and was also a necessary piece of lawmaking in a violent world where the clergy were debarred from carrying arms. The contribution of the twelfth century was not to assert the principle but to provide a new sanction. This had caused problems in the past, because it was not realistic to leave action to the lay power: if the state were effective, the assault would be punished in any case. The solution, finally promulgated at the Second Lateran Council of 1139, was to impose a spiritual sanction, but one of particular weight:
if anyone by the persuasion of the devil shall incur the guilt of sacrilege in that he lays violent hands upon a clerk or monk, he shall be subjected to the bond of anathema and no bishop shall presume to absolve him except in urgent peril of death until he has presented himself to the pope in person and received his mandate. 19
19 Gratian, Decr. C. XVII, q. 4c. 29 (822).
There were few offences thus reserved to the pope's personal decision, and the gravity of the crime was underlined by a rule which imposed the onerous duty of a journey to the pope's presence.
The bishop had long had a special responsibility for the property of the church and the discipline of his clergy, but it is not clear how far in the eleventh century this was regarded as giving the clergy exemption from the action of royal courts. Lay and ecclesiastical jurisdiction had become confused. In France powers which in theory belonged to the bishop were being exercised by lay lords. This was a particularly intractable problem in Normandy, where even after 1150 the archdeacon of Bayeux was complaining that 'certain laymen are usurping to themselves ecclesiastical and episcopal jurisdiction and summoning before them both clerks and laymen to answer even in cases which belong to ecclesiastical justice'. 20 In England the shire and hundred heard causes belonging to both royal and ecclesiastical law until William I reserved certain areas of jurisdiction to the bishop and archdeacon. The main concern initially was not to extend the area of clerical exemption, but to secure the surrender by laymen of ecclesiastical justice which they had annexed. Thus in 1116 Count Hugh of Grenoble allowed the bishop jurisdiction over the clergy unless they held land of him. A similar principle was applied elsewhere: the English Crown proceeded against Odo, bishop of Bayeux in 1082 and William of St Calais, bishop of Durham, in 1088 for offences committed specifically as barons.
In the twelfth century the development of the law was complicated by a technical misunderstanding. Late Roman laws contained a provision that if a clerk were deprived or abandoned his office, he should be 'surrendered to the court', traditur curiae. The original meaning was apparently that he came under the administrative curia and was henceforth subject to normal civil duties and taxation. In the ninth century the Isidorian forger found this penalty among the texts which he was adapting and imposed it on clergy conspiring against their bishops. 21 So far it had nothing to do with the right of the lay power to try clergy, but Bishop Ivo of Chartres misunderstood it as meaning 'handing over to the lay court' and thereafter the question of clerical criminals was usually discussed in terms of traditio curiae. Gratian's conclusion was that a clerk must answer in a civil case before a civil judge, but 'in a criminal case . . . a clerk should be
20 Cited R. Généstal, Le privilegium fori en France ( Paris, 1924), II, p. xxv n. 2. 21 Généstal, Privilegium fori, II, p. xxiv n. 3.
examined only before the bishop . . . In a criminal case no clerk may be brought before a civil judge, except perhaps with his bishop's consent. When however they are found incorrigible, then after they have been deprived of their office they are to be surrendered to the court.' 22 The canonists who followed Gratian regarded it as normal for a clerical criminal to be deprived of his orders and surrendered to the lay court for punishment. This was certainly the procedure defined by the Constitutions of Clarendon ( 1164), which were asserted to represent English practice. The treatment of criminous clerks was a particular issue in Archbishop Thomas's resistance to the demands of the king, and his stand was given weight by his martyrdom in 1170. In about 1178 Alexander III's decretal Et si clerici officially adopted the programme of clerical liberty for which Thomas had fought. Clergy were not to be tried before lay judges. If found guilty of a serious crime, a clerk should be degraded from his order, but should not then be transferred to the lay power for a similar penalty. 23 It is interesting to observe that the settlement of 1176 had already recognized some exceptions to this extreme claim in England and that subsequent popes did not sustain it. When in 1209 Innocent III's decretal Novimus was issued to clarify the law he made provision for the surrender to the lay power of a clerk who had been found guilty of a serious crime in an ecclesiastical tribunal. The privilege of clergy remained large. They were answerable to their own tribunals, even for offences against the law of the land; they could clear themselves of charges by oaths with relative ease; and if they were found guilty Novimus provided that the spiritual power should ask that the clerk should not be executed after the traditio curiae. Clerical liberty had come close to offering, not so much protection to the innocent, as easy terms for the guilty.
The question still remained what groups should be regarded as clergy for legal purposes, for there were many people on the margin of clerical status: lay brethren or conversi, members of hospital confraternities, those in minor orders, and those who had been tonsured but not ordained. There was also doubt how far clergy could claim the benefits of their order if they did not accept its discipline, for example if they married, wore secular dress, or carried weapons. If it was difficult to define which groups of people enjoyed clerical status, it was equally problematical what matters fell within
22 Gratian, Decr. C. XI, q. 1, post c. 30 (635).
23 Greg. IX, Decretals, II. 1.4 (240). The decretal occurs also under the title At si clerici.
the jurisdiction of church courts, and the resolution of this inevitably depended on the effectiveness of the lay power in a given region. In England the Constitutions of Clarendon in 1164 claimed a wide range of business for the royal courts, including the patron's rights in a benefice (advowson, advocatio ). The canonists never conceded this particular claim, but in practice the Crown retained the greater part of advowson litigation. On the other hand it left to the church courts testamentary causes, which were not necessarily part of the spiritual jurisdiction and elsewhere were dealt with by lay authorities. Between one country and another there continued to be considerable differences in the range covered by the ecclesiastical courts, but soon after the middle of the twelfth century it had been established that there would be a separate set of tribunals administered by the ecclesiastical authorities, far more active than in the past and coordinated by a canon law which was systematically defined. 24
v. The Growth of Canon Law
The programme of the reforming papacy had stimulated the study of canon law. The work of the school of Constance, Deusdedit, and Anselm of Lucca added much new material and took its classification further than any previous collection. But these Gregorian writers were polemic and selective in their interests, and undervalued the synods of Spain and Gaul which had provided a great part of the material which Burchard knew. The way was open for a collection which would combine the new methods with the laws of the earlier medieval church. This was the achievement of Ivo of Chartres. He was probably a native of Chartres and had studied at Bec as pupil of Lanfranc and fellow-pupil of Anselm. He was closely associated with the developing movement of regular canons, first as a canon of St Martin-des-Champs, Paris, and then from about 1079 as provost of St Quentin, Beauvais. He became bishop of Chartres in 1091 and was probably responsible for three collections: Tripartita, Decretum, and Panormia. The last of these, which was completed just after 1094, became the principal manual of canon law during the first half of the twelfth century. Its success was due to its wide coverage and to the high quality of the arrangement, for it was ably adapted to practical use and well provided with summaries or headings. Its supremacy
24 For the general framework in which these conflicts of jurisdiction arose, see ch. 9. iv above. was only terminated by the publication an even more remarkable work, Gratian's Concordia Discordantium Canonum, which was finished about 1140. 25
This was one of the finest works of scholarship during the whole Middle Ages, but we know little about its author. The few factual statements which have been made about him have dissolved in the acid of recent criticism, and it is far from certain that the Concordia as it now exists is the work of one hand. Nevertheless Gratian (as we must call the author for convenience) produced a collection which superseded all others and became the textbook of the traditional law of the western church. Its main source was Ivo's Panormia, and it presented a rich collection of materials in a form suited to academic or forensic lawyers who wanted to look up particular issues. It was designed as a harmonization of authorities, a Concord of Discordant Canons. The need had been evident for over fifty years, and the principles to be followed in the conciliation of conflicting texts had been set out by Bernold of Constance in his De Excommunicatis Vitandis some time after 1084, and about the same time by Alger of Liége in his Liber de Misericordia et Iustititia. 26 Ivo? had written a short treatise on the subject, probably designed as a prologue for Panormia but in wide circulation as an independent work, and about 1120 there was Peter Abelard's scintillating introduction to Sic et Non. Ivo and Abelard, however, had left it to their readers to carry out the work of harmonization for themselves, whereas Gratian provided an ordered discussion of a wide range of topics. The editing was careless, bad even by twelfth-century standards. Not only were there, inevitably, numerous inauthentic texts from pseudo-Isidore, but not infrequently sentences were misquoted, sometimes in a way which altered their meaning entirely. In spite of these defects, Gratian was sensitive to legal principles and practical needs, and his discussions provided a firm basis for later commentators.
Bologna was already becoming an international centre of legal studies. Probably the Concordia was written there; certainly it was used there as the textbook for further work. Already in the 1140s Paucapalea's Summa and Roland's Stroma or 'Jottings' were based upon it. During the next two decades Rufinus and John of Faenza
25 The title now conventionally used, Decretum, was a later one and is in fact not very meaningful, although I have retained it in references as it is the accepted form. The question of dating is re-examined by G. Fransen, "La date du Décret de Gratien", RHE 51( 1956), 521-31.
26 On the date of Alger's treatise, see N. M. Haring, "A Study in the Sacramentology of Alger of Liége", MS 20 ( 1958), 41-78.
each completed a Summa. Gratian's collection was meanwhile being expanded by additions or Paleae, as they came to be known. 27 For the rest of the century canonists teaching at Bologna continued to use Gratian as their basic text and produced a series of commentaries, the most outstanding being the Summa of Huguccio just after 1888. The international standing of Bologna ensured that the influence of Concordia would spread to other countries. It is evident in France in 1160 or shortly afterwards, both in the Summa Parisiensis and in the Summa which Stephen, canon of Orléans (later bishop of Tournai) wrote on his return from Bologna. Distinct canonistic schools emerged in France and the Anglo-Norman lands, influenced by Bologna but having features of their own. Rome, too, was influenced by the new styles of law. During the chancellorship of Haimeric ( 1123-41) the great Bologna teacher Bulgarus wrote an introduction to Roman law for his use, and we can in fact find a case in about 1125 in which Haimeric made use of Roman law in its adjudication. Shortly before 1150 Bernard of Clairvaux was complaining about the influence of Roman law at the curia. Nevertheless, there is a contrast between Bologna and Rome after the middle of the twelfth century. Gratian's compilation was the final statement of the old law, collected from the canons of councils, from papal letters and from the Fathers. Conversely at Rome, especially from the time of Alexander III ( 1159-81), the law was being defined by the issue of decretal letters. The contrast was concealed until recently by the belief that Alexander III was to be identified with the Bolognese canonist Roland, but there is no reason to think that they are the same man, and no evidence that Alexander ever studied law. By training he was a theologian, not a lawyer. 28 The link between the Gratian-based teaching at Bologna and the decretal-based administration at Rome is still not clear.
The more the church strove to regulate and to sanctify the life of the faithful, the more it was necessary to provide a mechanism for guidance, and this was the decretal letter. There are 12 decretals surviving from the 6 years of Eugenius III, 8 for Hadrian IV's 5 years, and 713 from the 22 years of Alexander III. 29 We have seen
27 The name palea was perhaps derived from Paucapalea as the first scholar to expand the text, but its origin is disputed.
28 See 8. iii above and the references in the bibliography there.
29 The figures, which need slight adjustment from more recent research, are those in W. Holtzmann ,
"Über eine Ausgabe der päpstlichen Dekretalen des 12 Jhs" , Nachrichten der Akad. Wiss. Göttingen ( 1945), 34. (Chapter 9.ii above) that such letters were indispensible tools in the construction of a system of appeals: they gave judgements in their own right and rarely referred to the earlier authority on which they were based. They also had the special feature of being issued not of the pope's mere volition but in response to a request from an ecclesiastical judge in a particular case, and thus represented the adoption at the curia of the rescript style of government, characteristic of the later part of our period. 30 The procedure showed a strong influence from Roman civil law, as did some of the decisions themselves, in contrast with Gratian's conservatism in admitting such material into his collection. Some canonists were uneasy about what was happening: Stephen of Tournai complained to the pope about the way theologians neglected the Fathers in favour of newfangled commentaries, 'and, if we turn to judgements which are made under canon law, either under your commission or by ordinary judges, there is offered for sale an inextricable forest of decretal letters, supposedly in the name of pope Alexander of holy memory, and the earlier sacred canons are rejected, thrown out and despised'. 31 Nevertheless they made their peace with the new order and altered the basis on which the canon law rested. Gratian had attached equal weight to the canons of councils and papal decrees, which were authoritative provided they contained 'nothing contrary to the decrees of earlier Fathers or the precepts of the Gospels'. A decretal letter in Gratian is any authoritative utterance of a pope, and is the same thing as a decree. Now the phrase 'decretal letter' came to refer specifically to responses to applications for guidance. This narrower type of document was recognized as having decisive authority, so that towards the end of the century Huguccio held that a decretal letter overruled earlier canons if they were in conflict. The normal method of amending canon law was now the use of a type of papal letter which had barely existed at the beginning of the century, and by the end of Alexander's pontificate the process of assembling collections of decretals was under way. Within fifty years it would bring into being a new body of canon law, which differed from the old in character and content and in the authority on which it rested -a sort of New Testament to the Old Testament of Gratian.
30 Stephen of Tournai defined a decretal letter as one sent by the pope 'to any bishop or other ecclesiastical judge who is in doubt about any case and has written to consult the Roman Church': J. F. von Schulte (ed.), Die Summa des Stephanus Tornacetisis ( Giessen, 1891), prol. p. 3.
31 Stephen of Tournai, ep. 251 (PL 211.517BC).
vi. The Critics
The expansion of endowments, privileges, and law was an expression of what may be called triumphalism. It was accepted that it was the duty of the hierarchy to provide for mankind's spiritual well-being, and that honour to God should be reflected in honour to the church, its worship, and its clergy. Yet there was a paradox here, because it was one of the aims of the reformers to restore the purity of the primitive church, in evident contrast with much that was happening in the twelfth century. There was a tradition going back to Jerome that with the recognition of the church by the Christian emperors 'it became greater in power and riches indeed, but poorer in virtues', and in the twelfth century it was supposed that Constantine and pope Sylvester were immediately responsible for the change. 32 The basis for a radical criticism of clerical privilege could be found in the policy of the reforming papacy, in its insistence that clergy should live in community with no private property and that they should be free from the obligations of secular service. Imperialist critics pointed to the inconsistencies in the outlook of the Gregorian popes, to their desire to retain regalia while abolishing service and their arrogant claim to authority: 'The Lord Jesus allowed himself to be reproved, saying "If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong" (John 18: 23), but they say, "The lord pope is judged by no one" '. 33 In both papal and imperial circles there was room for criticism of the triumphalism of the church after the Concordat of Worms. There were three groups of critics who demand our attention.
The first were those critics who, although much divided among themselves, were associated with the agonized discussion of these issues in the Roman curia in the middle years of the century. There were many reasons why they came to a head then: the continued uncertainty in some circles about the nature of the settlement with the lay power in the Concordat of Worms; the revival of Hohenstaufen propaganda against clerical corruption; the influence of the new reforming movements of the Cistercians and the regular canons; the creation of a secular city government at Rome in opposition to the papacy; the appearance at the curia of a new legalism; and the hostility in some circles to the new theology of the schools of northern France, which had strong sympathizers within the curia.
32 Jerome, Vita Malchi, i (PL 23.55B).
33 Tractatus de Investitura Episcoporum, MGH LdL ii. 502.
The uncertainties of the radicals may be summed up in three striking figures: Bernard of Clairvaux, Gerhoh of Reichersberg, and Arnold of Brescia.
Bernard of Clairvaux wrote his De Consideratione about 1150 at the request of Eugenius III, and in it protested strongly against contemporary developments in the curia such as the splendid ceremonial and the growth of legal business. His complaint that more was heard there of the law of Justinian than of the law of Christ was an early indication of the influence of civil law, and he objected to the pope's involvement in property suits and to the fees which were being charged. In contrast he presented the ideal of a papacy designed for service and not for dominance:
Consider first of all that the holy Roman Church at whose head God has placed you is the mother and not the ruler of all the other churches. It follows from that, that you are not the lord of the bishops but one of them, the brother of those who love God and companion of them who fear Him. 34
Eugenius III himself, a Cistercian and disciple of Bernard, showed considerable sympathy with these ideals, and was thought by Gerhoh of Reichersberg to embody them: 'after him', he remarked later, 'no one was found like him in the apostolic see to observe the law of the Most High'. 35
Gerhoh was a leading member of the regular canons of southern Germany with their loyalty to the ideas of Gregory VII. In his earliest work, De Edificio Dei ( 1128/9), Gerhoh argued that a clerk who held a benefice was automatically excommunicate, because he was appropriating to his private use what rightfully was the common property of all -- a total rejection of the way the church was developing. Gerhoh also claimed that ancient authority allowed 'no one to minister at the altar or baptize or preach unless he is living an apostolic and common life'. 36 He pressed a number of popes to excommunicate all simoniacal clergy and those living with women and to declare their sacraments invalid. With similar stringency he wished to secure a clear separation between worldly and spiritual obligations, and attacked the juridical development of Rome and the new-fangled use of the term curia to describe it: 'if we examine the
34 Bernard, De Consideratione, iv. 7.23 (PL 182-788A).
35 Gerhoh, Commentary on Ps. 65, MGH LdL iii. 493.
36 Gerhoh, Letter to Innocent II, MGH LdL iii. 211.
ancient writings of Roman pontiffs, we nowhere find in them this word curia as a designation of the holy Roman Church'. 37 This radical approach to the relationship of church and state was rooted ultimately in the Gregorian programme of an earlier generation, and criticized at once the security of a beneficed clergy and the new legalization of the church. It is when we hear an authentically Gregorian voice like Gerhoh's that we realize how unsatisfactory the wide use of 'Gregorian' is as a description of the later twelfth-century papacy.
Like Gerhoh, Arnold of Brescia was a regular canon. Unfortunately none of his writings survives, and we have to reconstruct his views from the works of his opponents. Arnold was the abbot of a house of regular canons at Brescia in Lombardy, where in the absence of his bishop he stirred up the laity against the propertied clergy and as a consequence was deposed by Innocent II and exiled in 1139. He went to France, where in 1140 he supported Abelard at the council of Sens and earned the hostility of Bernard, who succeeded in having him expelled from the kingdom by Louis VII. He then preached in the diocese of Constance, probably at Zurich, whither Bernard's indignation and letters pursued him. Nevertheless, he seems to have had sympathizers in high places: in 1143 he was in the company of Cardinal-deacon Guy, the papal legate to Bohemia (with whom Gerhoh also travelled) and in 1146 he was reconciled with Eugenius III at Viterbo. Arnold travelled to Rome, where by 1148 he had joined forces with the commune in rebellion against the pope and attacked the exercise of political power by the clergy. For several years Arnold was a leading figure in revolutionary Rome, and he seems to have helped to shape a policy in which the senate attempted, in vain, to ally with the emperor against the pope. Eventually Hadrian IV secured his expulsion from the city, and with Frederick Barbarossa's help he was handed over to the prefect of Rome and subsequently executed by him. His body was burned, and the ashes thrown into the Tiber, to prevent the populace from venerating his remains as relics. The official papal story was that the execution had been the act of the prefect alone, without collusion from the curia, but Gerhoh and others suspected that the pope was involved. As to the principles of action which lay behind this stormy career, we can probably accept the summary of Otto of Freising: 'he said . . . that clerks who have property, or bishops regalia, or monks possessions,
37 Gerhoh, Letter to Cardinal Henry ( 1158), MGH LdL iii.439.
can in no way be saved. All these things belonged to the prince, by whose beneficence they ought to be granted to the use of laymen alone.' 38 This presumably means that, like Gerhoh, Arnold wished to put outside the church clergy who held benefices and monks who owned private property. He differed from Gerhoh in the total condemnation of the holding of regalia by bishops and in his readiness to invoke lay action against the clergy and hence to cooperate with the emperor in dispossessing the Roman Church of its property and privileges.
The differences between these three reformers must in no way be overlooked, but they shared a common opposition to the political and legal involvements of the papacy and the greed and wealth of the church. They were not alone in these attitudes in the twelfth century. Apart from the direct disciples of Arnold, whose activity can be dimly perceived in a number of Italian cities, we find a link with such men as Henry of Lausanne who, beginning from a position of radical hostility to the corruptions of the clergy, ended by adopting doctrinal heresies and separating from the church altogether. There is not much sign that Arnold went as far (although there were a few accusations that he had done), but these groups represent a common hostility to the trimuphalism of the church. In circles which were impeccably orthodox the learned John of Salisbury complained to his friend Hadrian IV about the greed of the curia for gold; and in 1179, by then bishop of Chartres, he entered a protest against the legislation proposed at the Third Lateran Council in 1179: 'God forbid that we should issue new rules, or dress up some of the old and reissue them!. . .What we need to do is to proclaim and strive for the keeping of the Gospel, because there are few people who obey it now.' 39
These complaints by reformers in the middle years of the century gave rise to a series of criticisms from poets and writers who had been trained in the schools. Their satires were not dovetailed into a coherent policy of church reform such as we find in Bernard and Gerhoh; indeed, some of them were not reformers at all. They were, however, furious at the invasion of the church by lawyers, particularly because this denied the prospect of promotion to welleducated arts men:
38 Otto, Gesta Frederici ii. 10, ed. F-J. Schmale ( Berlin, 1965), p. 340.
39 Peter the Chanter, Verbum Abbreviatum 79 (PL 205.235C).
Et magister appellatur Now you can become a master
hie, qui numquam conabatur if you never have got past a
ad 'Fraternas acies' . little bit of Latin prose.
Perierunt in eternum Now you need no longer worry
et descendunt in infernum over type and category,
genera et species. you can say, 'to hell with those'.
Sic heredes Gratiani --- Gratian's heirs are all-demanding;
student fieri decani, --- they would like an abbot's standing
abbates, pontifices ; --- or a dean's or bishop's place.
cathedrantur ut electi, --- They're enthroned as if elected,
set per manum sunt provecti, --- for promotion they're selected
ad pastoris apices. 40 --- for a gift of hands is grace.
The satires are not only funny, but contain the awareness of a tragedy. The order of the church has been perverted by the lawyers:
Now the pastor's seat is turned
into a tribunal. 41 V Finally, behind these satires against the lawyers' take-over of the church runs a tradition of almost universal complaint about the greed of the Roman Church. Its authors were people aggrieved by the cost of litigation, or the writers who entertained them; and sometimes they were the mouthpieces of lay powers seeking an occasion against the clergy. Even at the beginning of the century we have blasphemous parodies such as the liturgy for the feasts of St Albinus and Rufinus (silver and gold) or the Gospel according to the holy Mark, which turns out to be a mark of silver. The complaints never cease. Gerald of Wales included a chapter in his Speculum Ecclesiae filled with quotations from attacks on the curia, including the acid comment 'Roma manus rodit; quos rodere non valet odit': ( Rome bites your hand; and what it can't bite it will hate). 42 They are voiced by the literary figures of the Goliards or 'Bishop Golias', who act as the symbols of wandering clerks who rage against the establishment of the church. And they shape the writing of history: when the courtier Walter Map late in the century recalled the life of Arnold of Brescia he made of him a good man who was a victim of the greed of
40 K. Strecker, Moralische-Satirische Gedichte Walters von Châtillon ( Heidelberg, 1929), no. 1, stanzas 18 * and 21 * , p. 9n. These verses occur only in a manuscript of English origin.
41 T. Wright (ed.), Latin Poems attributed to Walter Mapes ( Camden Soc., 1841), 41.
42 Gerald of Wales, Speculum Ecclesiae, iv. 15, ed. J. S. Brewer, RS 25 ( 1873) iv. p.291.
the Roman clergy. The existence of this general dissatisfaction, which was to grow into an even greater torrent in the next century, is a disquieting sign of the failure of the policies of the reformers to remedy the problems posed by the new order of things at Rome.
[Continue to PART III - Chapter 17]
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